UC Irvine Opens the Sue & Bill Gross Hall

On Friday, May 14 UC Irvine held the grand opening of their newly constructed Sue &Bill Gross Hall. According to a story on the University’s web site:

The $80-million, 100,000-square-foot building was designed to facilitate contact between patients in the first-floor clinic and rehabilitation center and stem cell researchers in first-, second- and third-floor labs.

(Image: Hans Keirstead greets Bill Gross at the opening ceremonies. Courtesy of Daniel A. Anderson / UCI)

This was one of 12 facilities throughout California that received a CIRM Major Facilities Award to construct space for stem cell research. UC Davis opened their facility in March. Although Irvine held the second opening, theirs was the first for a newly constructed building.

The 12 major facilities received $272 million from CIRM, with private donations and institutional investments bringing the project totals to more than $1 billion. Sue and Bill Gross made a $10 million gift to the Irvine facility. An independent review of the impact of this investment for the state economy last year by The Analysis Group suggested that the projects would create 13,000 job years of employment and $100 million in tax revenue.

UC Irvine leveraged their CIRM dollars beyond their original goals — they managed to construct a fourth floor for the same cost as the original three floor proposal.

An LA Times story quotes UC Irvine Stem Cell Research Center director Peter Donovan as saying:

“Whatever we achieve here, it is your legacy as much as ours,” he said. “The use of stem cells can revolutionize the treatment of human diseases and injuries.”

Scientists are due to move into the building over the next few weeks.