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STLCC Participates in BRDG Park Grand Opening

June 17, 2009

BRDG Park Grand Opening  
STLCC Chancellor Zelema Harris, third from left, joins other dignitaries in a 
ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Bio-Research and Develop-
ment Growth (BRDG) Park on the Danforth Plant Science Center campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Louis Community College was recognized as a founding tenant at the grand opening of the Bio-Research and Development Growth (BRDG) Park at the Danforth Plant Science Center in ceremonies June 16.

BRDG Park is designed to provide much needed wet lab space for companies from the incubation to post-incubation stages. One of the key missing pieces for growing the plant and life sciences industry in the St. Louis region has been the absence of wet lab space for companies that graduate from the incubators. BRDG Park will be the key to increasing the industry and job opportunities for students from STLCC.

"This agreement provides an unprecedented opportunity to not only meet our goal to grow the life sciences, but also to take our students to the world by working in a place that is focused on the cutting edge in bioscience research,” said Zelema Harris, STLCC chancellor. “The college has worked to position itself as the premier provider of training to facilitate the growth of the plant and life sciences industry. This partnership will result in the greatest benefits for our students and our role in the growth of the BioBelt.”

STLCC’s 10,500 square feet of space consists of three labs, one for tissue culture, one for molecular biology and one dedicated to bio-manufacturing. It also will include prep areas for the labs, an instrumentation lab, teaching classroom and office space for the center’s staff and faculty who might be teaching at the facility. BRDG Park will be the new home for STLCC’s Center for Plant and Life Sciences, which supports industry-specific programs such as biotechnology, chemical technology, clinical laboratory technology and horticulture. It also will be the site of the college’s Contract Research Organization (CRO) through its Bio-Bench Project grant from the National Science Foundation. Students will have the opportunity to intern with the CRO and be involved with real-world research.

 

STLCC’s space at BRDG Park also will provide a real-world training environment for students in the Life Sciences Career Pathways program. This partnership program between STLCC and Better Family Life Inc. is designed to recruit minority participants and train them for entry-level work with local biotech and bio-pharma manufacturing companies. Specialized biotechnology courses also will be taught on site. STLCC has agreed to a 15-year lease.

 

“Embedding workforce development in a real-world scientific environment will create a national model for addressing workforce needs within the plant and life sciences,” said Richard Norris, director of the Center for Plant and Life Sciences. “It also assists growing companies to navigate the critical first five years of their existence and keep them in the St. Louis region as a means for growing the industry locally.”

 

BRDG Park’s location on the Danforth Center’s campus affords access to the intellectual capital of top scientists, as well as to greenhouses, growth chambers, microscopy and proteomics facilities and other vital resources. Located in suburban St. Louis County, BRDG Park is being developed by Wexford Science+Technology LLC, a privately held real estate developer and investment company that has developed six major research parks nationwide.