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GE Aviation announces UD site for new research facility

The University of Dayton is getting a new tenant.

GE Aviation announced Nov. 22 that it had chosen a site on River Park Drive for its new Electrical Power Integrated Systems Research and Development Center (EPISCENTER). The $51-million, 115,000-sq.-ft facility is expected to be operational by late 2012 and attract an initial 10-15 jobs.

The facility will make GE Aviation an initial launch partner of the Ohio Hub of Innovation and Opportunity for Aerospace, assigned to the Dayton region in September 2009 by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Jennifer Villarreal, a company spokeswoman, says proximity to the University of Dayton Research Institute and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base -- as well as the Dayton region's designation an aerospace hub -- all contributed to GE Aviation's decision to locate the center on the UD campus. She says that in addition to benefiting the region's and state's economy, EPICSENTER will help GE Aviation attract new talent.

"It's an excellent catalyst for growth with new program and contracts," says Villarreal. "It's a great pipeline for talent from the University of Dayton as far as researchers, technologists, engineers and others, so that's really key to us as far as development and advancing electric power for all kinds of vehicles."

The facility will sit on eight acres and will focus on a number of markets, including electrical power starter/generation, conversion, distribution and load technologies for commercial and military aerospace applications. UD will partner with the CityWide Development Corp. to build the facility, whose construction should be completed by the third quarter of 2012. The Ohio Third Frontier has chipped in with a capital grant of up to $7.6 million.

Villarreal says it's difficult to predict job growth over time, but that some have estimated 100 to 200 "depending on future contracts and programs."

Source: Jennifer Villarreal, GE Aviation
Writer: Gene Monteith
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