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Pennington Center to Receive $42 Million Research Building
Released: Friday, January 23, 2004
BATON ROUGE - Pennington Biomedical Research center
scientists are losing no time moving into their new research building,
even though it's not officially theirs until Saturday.
The 5-story building, complete with floor to ceiling atrium, skyways,
spacious labs, and plenty of informal gathering areas - not to mention
the latest in biotech research equipment - is now a new landmark on Perkins
Road. Researchers will be able to probe the inner workings of a gene
or cell and then relax and talk about it with co-workers while looking
out over a lake from a balcony coffee area.
"For us to attract the leading researchers in the world, we must
have the best facilities," center spokesman Glen Duncan said. "This
building is designed to encourage scientific exploration and inspire
creativity. We have already begun to show it off to potential faculty
and new researchers, and we're making a good impression. We are very
thankful to the foundation for creating an environment that will foster
future discoveries that could improve and save lives."
The Pennington Medical Foundation - a trust established by Louisiana
oil man C.B. "Doc" Pennington in 1980 - financed construction
of the 180,000 square foot, $42 million dollar building. Designers toured
modern research facilities all over the country to pick the best elements
for design - design features that encourage common area gatherings among
the researchers, spontaneous exchanges over coffee and, of course, more
formal presentations and lectures.
Highly specialized, shared equipment and smaller labs are grouped in
the center of each research floor, while veteran and new researchers
alike share wide-open, sun lit labs around the perimeter.
Saturday, trustees of the foundation will untie the ribbon on the building
and present it to the center. Eventually, between 250 and 300 researchers
and staff will occupy the laboratories and offices in the buildings.
"This is a perfect example of the economic impact of successful
research. The construction costs, equipping costs and ongoing salaries
and supply costs all are all multiplied as that money is spent here in
Baton Rouge, and we're proud of that," Duncan said, “It is part
of our mission to contribute to our community's economic growth.”
Some researchers may be looking onto the opening ceremony from their labs.
They are already hard at work to learn more about obesity, diabetes, high
blood pressure and cancer, and the healing effects of food substances and
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.