Phoenix panel urges an OK for GateWay college wet lab

March 14, 2008

By hammersmith

[Source: Eugene Scott, The Arizona Republic] – GateWay Community College got one step closer Wednesday to building a multimillion-dollar project aimed at furthering Arizona’s bioscience sector. The Phoenix Parks, Education, Bioscience and Sustainability subcommittee recommended that the City Council enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the college Wednesday to build a wet lab, a space allowing for affordable, innovative research to further the state’s biotechnology industry.”The goal is to fill an important gap that has been identified in the bioscience” field, said Jason Harris, deputy director of Phoenix’s downtown development office.

The college at 40th and Washington streets hopes to use $792,000 of bond money to build the bioscience incubator research laboratory. GateWay initially would commit $2 million to the project before obtaining additional funding to expand the lab. “I see it as an essential part of building the programs here, so I’m grateful that you’re making the investment,” Councilwoman Maria Baier said. The lab will be at least 5,000 square feet and feature nine labs. It is one of several multimillion-dollar projects proposed for GateWay over the next several years. A major goal of the city is that the facility would attract researchers with little funding. The research will then bring much-valued dollars to the area. “That individual that has the idea, but might not necessarily have the space to accomplish the idea,” GateWay President Eugene Giovannini said. Giovannini said the college has already been in discussions with companies interested in working in the lab. Researchers will also have access to legal and business experts who can help them with the non-science aspects of their projects.The lab would also strengthen GateWay’s health-care programs by allowing students to work with researchers and scientists. Its proximity to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and other research campuses was strategic, city staff said. Growth in Arizona’s bioscience industry sector is double the growth nationally, according to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.