The Northwest side of Sioux Falls has seen some incredible growth in the last couple of years and it's about to take off even more.
The legislature has appropriated $1 million for the expansion of Graduate Education and Applied Research Center and the University of South Dakota Research Park. The planning process is underway for the park.
Acre upon acre of rolling farmland surrounds the University Center. The Board of Regents owns 255 acres in all. Soon 80 acres will be transformed into the USD Research Park.
"It just seems the time is very-well aligned to move this project forward in this part of the community," Rich Naser, President of the USD Research Park, said.
The steps to come up with a master plan for the park, at a cost of $180,000 are well underway. The Board of Regents will get an update next week. Planners looked at research parks across the country and found that "urban villages" are the latest trend.
"But they're also trying to develop communities of innovation--where there is interaction, maybe with the arts; where there's some space for ancillary support services like legal and finance and accounting and those sorts of things," Naser said.
The existing GEAR building for research at University Center is already full and expanding.
One of the things that's expected to attract high tech companies to the research park is the construction of a sterile room for production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This is the equipment and the construction of that very expensive center is underway right now.
"It's another step in the process to bringing that innovation from the bench to the bedside if it's health care; but bringing it to the marketplace, and it's something a lot of companies are needing to go into medical trials for a medical device or pharmaceutical product," Naser said.
Infrastructure work on the research park will begin after the plan is finalized this fall.
"It isn't you go in and we're going to build all the roads for 80 acres. We're going to do it in a phased approach and find public and private sector partners to move that forward," Naser said.
It's a big plan with potential for a huge economic impact on Sioux Falls. Forward Sioux Falls, the city and the university system are all involved in the planning of the park.