OXFORD, Miss. – Closures of All American Drive and several parking lots this week may be frustrating to those navigating the University of Mississippi campus, but the inconvenience is contributing to a greater cause. The School of Pharmacy is constructing Phase II of its Thad Cochran Research Center, a project that will double the school’s available research space.
“A huge crane with a lifting capacity of 500 tons has been brought in to lift some very advanced HVAC equipment to the roof of our new building this week,” said Don Stanford, assistant director of the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. “This mechanical equipment will provide tremendous capacity for operating the labs, but still be very energy-efficient. There is no other research building in the Southeast as technically sophisticated as this one.”
To deliver the crane to campus, 17 trucks transported the equipment piece-by-piece last week. When assembled, the crane will weigh 220,000 pounds.
Funded by several federal grants, the new portion of the Thad Cochran Research Center will complete the two-building National Center for Natural Products Research complex. The building was first planned in the early 1990s when pharmacy school leaders outlined facilities to house the NCNPR.
The new building will include several cutting-edge facilities, such as an area for clinical trials, an expanded botanical specimen repository, laboratories for scale-up synthesis and laboratories for expansion of discovery efforts for natural products.
“This new research wing will complete a research complex which was envisioned decades ago, planned in detail over several years and then launched just recently due to the concerted efforts of our leaders in the School of Pharmacy and the UM administration,” Stanford said. “It is not intended just to provide more space, but is designed to provide new capabilities for our research programs to expand into areas that will definitely have positive effects on human health.”
Closed roads are scheduled to reopen next week. Phase II construction is scheduled to be completed in 2014.