Archive for Thursday, January 7, 1999

KU LEASES OFF-CAMPUS LAB SPACE

January 7, 1999

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The Midwest Superconductivity Inc. building at 1315 Wakarusa will initially house three large projects.

Kansas University's push to increase research activity has led to its first lease for off-campus laboratory space.

The university's Center For Research Inc. has leased the Midwest Superconductivity Inc. building at 1315 Wakarusa. The 20,000-square-foot building initially will house at least three large research projects that were out of space elsewhere, said Jim Roberts, vice chancellor for research.

Midwest Superconductivity, meanwhile, is continuing to look for a smaller space that will better accommodate it as its focus shifts from superconducting materials to infrared sensing technology.

KU's move was the result of "a campaign to significantly increase the research productivity for the university," Roberts said Wednesday. "We recognize that in order to do that, we need additional space."

Though the center, which is known as CRINC, is working on a long-term plan to provide several hundred thousand square feet of new research space over the next several years, some major research awards recently created a bottleneck that sent the university looking for more room.

As it lands more research projects, the center hopes to face the problem with regularity.

"Our intention is to use leased space where we can for short-term needs, and then build on West Campus as a longer-term solution," Roberts said.

Currently, the university has about 500,000 square feet of space devoted to research. A plan being worked on by the center seeks to add about 25,000 square feet a year over the next five years as various departments secure additional research projects.

Midwest Superconductivity's building was available because that company, itself founded in 1990 to find commercial applications for a KU professor's research, has shifted to a technology that requires less space.

Jonathan Wilson, president and chief executive officer, said his company would continue to operate from the building until a smaller space is found.

He said Wednesday that the company was still pursuing a deal for development of a new, low-cost infrared sensing technology that could lead to applications like night vision for automobiles and industrial security.

The Midwest Superconductivity building is owned by Hi-Tech Facility Investors, a partnership that includes Midwest Superconductivity.

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is rbrack@ljworld.com.

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