The University of Notre Dame, in partnership with General Electric, announced today that they are set to open a jet engine research facility at the Ignition Park technology park just south of downtown South Bend. The $36 million Turbomachinery Research Facility will occupy half of a new 43,000-square-foot building under construction from Great Lakes Capital as part of their “Catalyst” development. High-tech startups will use the rest of the available space. Construction is expected to begin this summer with a completion date of March 2015. The facility will be fully operational in July 2016.
The goal of the new Turbomachinery Research Facility is to be the “nation’s foremost research and test facility for advancing the technology used in the massive gas turbine engines used by commercial and military aircraft, power plants and the oil and gas industry.”
“The center will allow GE’s industrial businesses to simulate full-scale engine operating environments” said Rick Stanley, GE’s vice president and chief technologist for Power and Water. “The important rig testing we will do at the center builds upon GE’s already strong and long-standing technical relationship with the University. For years, GE has turned to Notre Dame for top technical talent.”
The facility is expected to employ about 60 people. Notre Dame states that average salaries and benefits packages will near $80,000. The university also expects an additional 60 new jobs through increased demand of suppliers in the region.
“South Bend’s capacity to attract high-tech businesses continues to grow, as this great new project attests,” says Deputy Mayor Mark Neal. “Innovation has been at the heart of South Bend’s economy for 150 years and this helps extend that tradition into the future.”
The city of South Bend plans to invest an initial $7.5 million. Notre Dame will reimburse the city $3.4 million for equipment acquisition. The state’s Indiana Economic Development Corporation will reimburse $2 million. After reimbursements are taken into account, the city’s total initial investment will be $2.1 million.
“General Electric and Notre Dame make a great team,” Scott Ford, the city’s Executive Director of Community Investment, said in a statement. “Their investment will lead to major technological advancements and provides an anchor tenant to an emergent aerospace research and development hub at Ignition Park.”
The funding from the city requires approval from the South Bend Redevelopment Commission.