Boise State University officially began construction Tuesday on the $50 million Micron Center for Materials Research.
Located at 1435 University Drive, adjacent to the Charles P. Ruch Engineering Building, “the four-story, 85,000-square-foot materials science research facility will provide more than 40 research laboratories and spaces, state-of-the-art teaching spaces, a 250-seat lecture hall, two 80-seat classrooms, and offices and work spaces for faculty, staff, and graduate students advancing materials research at Boise State,” said BSU spokesperson Sherry Squires. Two classrooms and a lecture hall will be available for university-wide classes.
“The new building will elevate the work of Boise State research faculty who already are nationally and internationally recognized for their work in the areas of novel materials, biological sciences and nanotechnology,” she added.
“The success of our materials science program and that of industry are intertwined,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “Not only will this center further differentiate Boise State University, but a program of this stature also will create new knowledge that is vital to growing high-tech, science and engineering-related industries and associated economic development in the Treasure Valley and beyond.”
The Micron Technology Foundation Inc. pledged $25 million — the largest single gift to Boise State thus far — for the Micron Center for Materials Research. The building will provide the space needed to continue building expertise in the manufacture of technologies using nanomaterials on an industrial scale.
“Micron and the Micron Foundation are pleased to participate in the groundbreaking of the Micron Center for Materials Research building,” said Micron Technology Executive Vice President Scott DeBoer. “Investments in world-class research capabilities are essential to both Micron and Boise State University. And, this facility continues to demonstrate Micron and Boise State’s longstanding partnership in pursuit of building strong science and technology centers of excellence for the Boise area.”
Micron and Boise State have partnered on a number of initiatives throughout the years. In the 1990s, Micron championed the establishment of the College of Engineering at Boise State (the college just celebrated its 20th anniversary) as well as contributed to the construction of a new engineering building in 2000. In 2006, the Micron Foundation contributed $5 million to support an Electrical and Computer Engineering Ph.D. program — the first doctoral program in the College of Engineering — as well as $13 million in 2012 from Micron Technology to create a new interdisciplinary doctoral program in materials science, and the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering.
In addition to supporting engineering education at Boise State, Micron contributed to the construction of the Micron Business and Economics Building that opened in 2012, as well as the Center for Fine Arts, now under construction.
The Micron Center for Materials Research is scheduled for completion in spring 2020. The remainder of the cost will be covered by $10 million from the State of Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund, $15 million in university bonds, and $500,000 from other donors.
Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering faculty have expertise and research initiatives in a number of areas, including novel semiconductor nanomaterials and nanostructures; converting lost energy into electricity; computational materials science; DNA nanotechnology focused on DNA origami and DNA catalytic networks; electrochemistry and surface chemistry for energy storage and conversion; sensor development; semiconductor and nonvolatile memory materials and more.