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CMU Gathering Funds to Construct New Research Building

Carnegie Mellon University is issuing a large bond and accepting gifts from private donors to pay for a $62 million research facility to be constructed on campus over the next few years.

The university hopes to open the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall in 2015 with office and lab space for nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, and energy research.

To pay for it, CMU has started the process of issuing a $60 million bond through the Allegheny County Higher Education Building Authority. The legislation to do so was introduced to Allegheny County Council on Tuesday. Large donations have been made by two alumni families, and the school also accepted a $2 million grant for the new building from the Eden Hall Foundation on Tuesday.

"There is an acute need for energy-related workers by the end of this decade, and that's why we are supporting education and research programs now under way at CMU that will help our region grow and provide increased economic opportunities to the region," said Sylvia Fields, Eden Hall Foundation Executive Director.

Combining three different areas of research into one building is a first for CMU, said Dr. Gary Fedder, Director of CMU's Institute for Complex Engineered Systems, but it fits with a nationwide trend of interdisciplinary cooperation.

"We're combining an entire department [into one building] with biomedical engineering, and then connecting them intimately with our work on nano-fabrication, so we think we'll see huge synergies there," said Fedder.

As for the energy research, Fedder said the focus would be on improving both policy and technology.

"I think most of the research going on there is going to be on work on alternative fuels, alternative energy supplies: solar, wind, geo, that sort of thing, and how that can be thoughtfully integrated with coal and oil," said Fedder. He said researchers would also look into improving electric grid technology and increasing the capacity of batteries and other energy storage devices.

The 100,000-square-foot, three-story building was announced when CMU introduced its master plan in early 2012.

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