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KINGSTON - The University of Rhode Island celebrated on Tuesday the opening of the newest facility on campus, a $75 million, 144,000 square-foot 5-story building for the College of Pharmacy. URI President David Dooley cut the ribbon in front of the new building surrounded by state and university dignitaries.
The project was supported by the state's voters when in 2006 they approved $65 million in general obligation bonds to finance a center for pharmaceutical teaching and research. The remaining $10 million for the project was made up of private donations and university funds.
The building is now the largest academic facility on the Kingston campus, and according to URI Vice President of Administration and Finance Robert Weygand, it is the most sophisticated building Rhode Island has ever built.
Weygand lead a presentation before the ribbon cutting ceremony in front of a capacity crowd in a large auditorium in the nearby Chafee Social Science Center. The presentation included addresses from Weygand, Dooley, Chairman of the R.I. Board of Governors for Higher Education Lorne Adrian, Dean of the College of Pharmacy Ronald Jordan, President and CEO of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Paul Hastings, and a Pharm.D Class of 2014 student Erin Larcom.
According to URI, the building is expected to earn a "gold" rating in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system, and employed over 380 Rhode Islanders on the project. These two factors were harped on during the presentation Tuesday.
"This college is a critical part of the knowledge-based economic future for the Ocean State and with this facility we will be able to develop partnerships with leading biomedical companies, secure more research funding to reinvest in Rhode Island's economy, attract start-up biotech companies to the state, and allow our young people to pursue exciting and gratifying careers right here in our beautiful state," said Dooley.