Western gearing up for research park, seeking input from WNC leaders Nov. 5

CULLOWHEE – As Western Carolina University officials gear up to launch a new research and technology park called the “Millennial Campus,” they are seeking input from residents of Western North Carolina on how it should be structured to bring the greatest benefit to the region.

Representatives of business, industry, education and government will join with Western delegates Wednesday, Nov. 5, to begin developing concepts for how Western’s Millennial Campus can best serve the mutual interests of the university, the region, and enterprises that may locate there.

Eva Klein, whose consulting firm is nationally recognized for its work in planning and developing university-related research and technology parks, will lead the sessions beginning at 9 a.m. in the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

The N.C. General Assembly in 2000 authorized Western and other University of North Carolina institutions to develop “millennial campuses” similar to N.C. State University’s 1,000-acre Centennial Campus, a “knowledge enterprise zone” where university, private industry and government partners work together through research and development facilities and business incubators to produce scientific and technological innovations.

The “millennial campus” concept, part of a national trend, is aimed at enhancing the university’s research, teaching and service missions while advancing economic development of the region the university serves. It will be a site where Western and partners from the profit and nonprofit sectors join to foster economic development, scholarship and technology transfer.

“To realize the full potential of our Millennial Campus for advancing economic development in the region and strengthening the role of the university, we need the counsel and assistance of leaders in business, government and education,” said Western Chancellor John W. Bardo.

For more information, contact the Center for Regional Development at (828) 227-7492.