The Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, donated $1.8 million to the university to help construct an on-campus technology park – a building expected to house small companies involved in research and development. The park will create projects that are accessible for both students, faculty and companies to collaborate on, said Susan Opava, dean of research and graduate programs.
Cal Poly has been in the application process for the grant for a little more than two years, which Susan Opava, described as “a very complicated process.”
The application that Cal Poly submitted had to be approved and certified several times before being sent to Washington, D.C. where it went up against other companies and institutions. The grant is usually awarded to community organizations and only recently began focusing on universities.
The proposed location for the technology park is the old softball field but awaits a final decision by the CSU Board of Trustees. The park is expected to be about 25,000 square feet is unique because there are few California universities that have technology parks. Stanford is home to the most famous park that was created by faculty though it isn’t located on campus.
Other universities with technology parks include Cal Poly, Pomona and UC Berkeley, but neither features the parks on campus.
Companies are already showing interest in the technology park even though the expected completion date is not for a couple of years, she said.
Funding for the project will come from the grant not the students, Opava said, adding that the project will benefit students because it gives them more employment opportunities.
“No state money is being used for this project,” Opava said.
Interim Provost Robert Detweiler said in a press release that this long-awaited project will become a reality and will benefit the students, faculty and community.
According to a press release, the technology park is expected to create almost 400 new jobs while increasing the interaction between research and development companies and Cal Poly.
Though the money received from the grant will be used to begin the construction of the technology park, it will not cover all expenses.
The project is in the process of being approved by the Board of Trustees and still needs more funding, Opava said. The final name is also still being decided but for now it will be know as the Cal Poly Technology Park.