Feb 232006
Authors: Melissa Edwards

Though construction of the Judson M. Harper Complex is not complete, researchers from all over the Rocky Mountain region are flocking to the Foothills Campus to collaborate with CSU researchers in finding causes and cures for infectious diseases and agents.

The research complex is an addition to the current Bioenvironmental Research Building. The $32 million project will add 55,000 square feet to the existing 10,000 square feet. Completion of the expansion, which is called the Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, is scheduled for fall 2007.

Ralph Smith, professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the biocontainment lab, said CSU really needs this expansion to further research capabilities.

"This really puts CSU on the map for having such a research capacity," he said. "We are up to our eyebrows in research and this will add to the ability to do that research."

Judson M. Harper, former CSU vice president of research and namesake of the complex, said there is a master plan for the Foothills Campus. The master plan will eventually group together several different research facilities to collaborate as one.

"The development of a specified research facility will improve and support CSU's research capabilities," Harper said.

Harper stressed the importance of being able to communicate with other researches in person rather than via telephone or Internet.

"As good as the Internet is, nothing beats face-to-face contact," Harper said. "More research can be collaboratively done in a complex that can make that happen."

The facility opens new opportunities and offers a way to bring researchers together to share ways of doing practices, which can further what is being investigated, Smith said.

For CSU students and faculty, Smith said this is a great opportunity to learn about state-of-the-art processes and get hands-on experience with research.

"This helps CSU expand its education mission significantly," he said.

Melissa Edwards can be reached at campus@collegian.com.



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