Ole Miss breaks ground on $12M research park

OXFORD – University of Mississippi officials broke ground Wednesday on the first building in its long-planned research park on the former site of the Medicinal Plant Garden.
The $12 million facility on Hathorn Drive will offer laboratories, office and meeting space and other support facilities to enterprises and agencies related to research performed at Ole Miss.
“We are trying to move ideas into practical application,” said Chancellor Dan Jones. “We’re trying to make the world a better place.”
Dr. Alice Clark, vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, said, “Insight Park will help us attract more technology-based businesses and government agencies that want to be in an environment that’s rich in collaborative research and innovation. It will help us attract dynamic faculty, staff, students and their families to our community.”
Dr. Syd Spain is Insight Park’s executive director. A Booneville native, he previously headed a similar research park at Auburn University.
“Insight Park was and is planned for faculty and staff, students, entrepreneurs and corporate innovators,” he said. “We had the good fortune to learn from our peers what works.”
Spain noted such innovative building features as solar shading, geothermal heating and cooling and even plug-ins for electric vehicles.
University architect Ian Banner noted the building is due to open in August 2011 and that it will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified.
Spain said the building will have a special appeal to microbusinesses.
“We’re opening on Day One a 12,000-square-foot business incubator called the Innovation Center,” he said. “We’re working with the city of Oxford to assure that this incubator complements the existing Oxford Enterprise Center.”

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal