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RALNATIVE

NCSU Centennial Campus Power Electronics Institute

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President Barack Obama will announce today that N.C. State University will be home to a $140 million consortium of companies and universities that will develop the next generation of energy-efficient electronic chips and devices....

 

 

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/15/3532737/obama-to-name-ncsu-home-to-new.html

Edited by RALNATIVE

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Pretty nice deal. RTP is a world leader in semi-conductor research and manufacturing/smart grid technology so this makes sense. Will be interesting to see where the other innovation centers end up. 

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I would think that having this institute will help to attract other companies to the area that want to be close to the action in terms of cutting edge electronics technology.

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Sounds like a pretty big deal. I wonder how long it will take to get ramped up.

I wonder if this will translate to any new construction on the campus. I note that Craig Davis recently started building the first building of the Alliance Center complex.

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I will probably require a dedicated facility as this will consist of a manufacturing component for intricate instrumentation ala MCNC (formerly The NC Microelectronics Center). The Craig Davis building is more office space I believe. Anyways, this should result in an increasing amount of business recruitment/start-up capacity in the Triangle.  


Here is an article on the potential of this facility.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2014/01/how-the-new-raleigh-based.html

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I'm really excited about the hub and the possibilities that it will bring to the Raleigh.  It will no doubt put an even greater spotlight on the triangle on a national, possibly even global scale.  A couple articles I read stated that they were going to be hiring 1,000 people over the next 4 years and sustaining that as a minimum, so I would imagine they will need dedicated space employing that many.  Another bright spot is those are jobs that are part of a public-private partnership at the federal level so they are unlikely do disappear in layoffs or something of that nature.  In short, they are good, secure jobs.  I would think that it could employ beyond those numbers eventually as well on the assumption that there will certainly be more companies  that currently aren't part of this partnership that will want in on it sooner or later.

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Having read a bit more about this, it is focused on semiconductor research, which is a big specialization at NC State.

Wide bandgap semiconductors apparently apply to high-voltage high-temperature devices such as power switching equipment rather than computing. Most current semiconductors are silicon but the next generation of high-voltage semiconductors will supposedly use wide-bandgap materials like gallium nitride and silicon carbide. The next generation after that will probably be diamond semiconductors if you've ever heard about that (but that's probably several decades away.)

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With the expected employment growth with this major institute, I'd like to see a transit loop connection to the proposed LRT line nearby.  This could provide a quick connection from NC State's main campus to centennial campus for faculty and students.  It could also provide connection for employees working at centennial from downtown and the transportation hub.

 

Google map dream:  http://goo.gl/maps/ffcqB

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^I think NSCU is pursuing some intra-campus rail system.

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Outside of something like a very large donation earmarked for the campus monorail, it won't happen any time soon. A 2012 campus mobility study mentioned that the monorail wasn't in the 10 year plan but might be needed in the distant future. It estimated a cost of $90 million. Only after significant bus service improvements, including 3 minute headways and articulated buses on some routes, are no longer enough to accommodate the passenger loads would the monorail make sense.

 

Recently a study was concluded for a grade-separated underpass at Western and Avent Ferry. The monorail was planned to pass under Western Boulevard here. The study did analyze including transit in the tunnel, and they found that it was feasible, but it did not make the final recommendation due to costs and other impacts. The final recommendation was for a bicycle/pedestrian connection only.

 

If this tunnel under Western Boulevard does gets built, and is only built to accommodate bikes and pedestrians as recommended, we can probably consider that the final nail in the coffin for the monorail.

 

The biggest improvement in access between Centennial and Main Campus will probably come when Pullen Drive is extended to Centennial Parkway at Oval Drive.

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Here is the most recent master plan for the university (from almost exactly 1 year ago):  http://www.ncsu.edu/facilities/physical_master_plan/update2012/maps/1_29_2013_Combined_Precinct.pdf

 

You can download the individual campus maps here (Appendix C):  http://www.ncsu.edu/facilities/physical_master_plan/update2012/index.htm

 

And yes, the NCSU monorail has been a pie-in-the-sky discussion for probably 20 years now.

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I also read this article. ABB is moving 350 of its employees to centennial campus on the heels of the consortium announcement. Seems like they are moving quickly to take advantage of the momentum. I wonder if the NCSU centennial campus will eventually become the next big urban technology park.

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^I would say it's probably one of the more successful tech parks overall as far commercial tech transfer (see Red Hat) and private investment. Most other university-based parks have been a disaster with the tax payers and/or universities footing the bill. 

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I suppose it depends on how one defines a university-based tech park. Georgia Tech's ATDC/VentureLab has done reasonably well, given the land constraints they have. So has Clemson's. 

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