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Media Advisory

Not for publication

Feb. 14, 2005 -- No. 58

Carolina to break ground for genetic medicine building

Wednesday (Feb.) 16, 1:30 p.m.
Outdoors near Grounds Services (east of the EPA Bldg. and south of Mason Farm Rd)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will break ground Wednesday (Feb. 16) for a new Genetic Medicine building, a $110 million facility that will be one of the largest on campus, at 330,000 square feet with a footprint of about one acre.

The building, a cooperative effort between the schools of pharmacy and medicine, will offer unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. Among these are projects aimed at developing novel proteomics-based technologies to discover new biological targets for treating diseases and developing novel approaches to deliver gene therapy.

Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony will be UNC Chancellor James Moeser; Richard "Stick" Williams, chairman of the UNC Board of Trustees; Dr. William L. Roper, dean of the School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs, and chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care System; and Dr. Robert A. Blouin, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

The seven-story structure will contain five laboratory floors and will house researchers from pharmacy and three medical school departments: pharmacology, genetics, and biochemistry and biophysics. Designed by the architectural firm of Lord, Aeck and Sargent, all laboratories will feature flexible open design to encourage cooperation and allow easy modification when needed. This approach emerged from the successful concept applied to the recently opened Biomolecular Research Building.

UNC scientists are helping finance the construction costs. Research grants they are awarded by the federal government and other sources bring with them overhead receipts – reimbursements for the cost of conducting research – that are the primary source of funding for the building. The medical and pharmacy schools also are raising private funds through the Carolina First Campaign. The building is scheduled for completion in 2007.

The event is for invited guests. It will be held outside on the new building site, which includes the area now occupied by the grounds services and housing support offices east of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building, south of Mason Farm Road. A reception immediately following the ceremony will be held in the lobby of the nearby Bioinformatics Building.

Visual Opportunities: Event principals will cut a ceremonial cake at the reception following the event, and architects’ models and renderings will be on site.

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News Services contact: Mike McFarland, (919) 962-8593