BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Florida State University received the largest grant ever approved by Triumph Gulf Coast. The $98.4 million is going towards a project called Institution for Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Research, and Education, or InSPIRE.
“To be able to have a Florida State University, a tier one research university, a top 20 university, to have the engineering assets here to support advanced manufacturing and aviation, we’ll be able to meet with our domestic contacts and international contacts and put in front of them this state-of-the-art facility that can support their operations,” Bay County Economic Development Alliance President Becca Hardin said.
One building will be about 35,000 square feet with a high-speed wind tunnel for aerospace testing, as well as potential secure work with the Department of Defense.
The second building will be bigger, about 50,000 square feet, with industry-scale equipment. Local officials would like the facility to be built at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.
“Look at the growth that’s happened around the airport in the last several years, this is just going to continue to flourish that opportunity for the airport to grow for the aviation to grow in the community as well as even potentially creating some new opportunities for more jobs,” Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport Executive Director Parker McClellan said.
Contracts between FSU and outside companies are expected to generate 30 to 50 million in revenue a year. It will also strengthen education for engineering students.
“There will be specific opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral trainees but there’s also going to be a lot of opportunity for undergraduates to really get a hands-on experience with industry scale types of types of problems and working to come up with solutions, but to also engage with industry,” Florida State Vice President for Research Stacey Patterson said.
Fsu officials say construction on the new facilities won’t begin for at least another year.