Indiana University will Tuesday celebrate the opening of the $8.8 million WestGate Academy Building in the WestGate@Crane Technology Park. IU, which will have a dedicated space inside the new building, will also renew its Educational Partnership Agreement with Naval Support Activity Crane.

Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships at IU, says the university’s space in the building will further connect IU, NSA Crane, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Crane Army Ammunition Activity and the surrounding activities. IU says the Educational Partnership Agreement allows IU students, faculty and researchers to use NSA Crane as a lab for applied research in science, information technology, engineering, math, sustainability and other applied skills.

"Along with our colleagues at Purdue, we are linking the resources of two major research universities to the needs of the vital national defense activities at Crane. This also helps grow the southwestern Indiana economy," White said. "The new space will allow Team Crane personnel and IU faculty, staff and students to collaborate in an easily accessible location."

Several university and community entities will utilize IU’s space in the new building, including the Office of the Vice President for Engagement, the IU Center for Rural Engagement, the IU Maurer School of Law IP Clinic and the south central region of the Indiana Small Business Development Center. White says the facility will also help economic development throughout the I-69 corridor.

"We’re going to make this space available for the SBDC to meet with existing businesses and new businesses to help them with the counseling that they need to get stronger, which we think will make the corridor along I-69 a lot stronger as it develops and provides more jobs in the region," White added.

The facility is the latest to include dedicated space for IU, including the Indiana IoT Lab in Fishers, The Union 525 in Indianapolis and Inventrek Tech Park in Kokomo.

White says the facility will also help economic development throughout the I-69 corridor.

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