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UB Regional Institute Celebrates New Space and New Chapter with Open House in UB Downtown Gateway

By Rachel M. Teaman

Release Date: December 15, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Regional Institute welcomed the community to its new space in downtown Buffalo with an open house held Dec. 15 in the UB Downtown Gateway, 77 Goodell Street.

As the first unit to move into refurbished space in the UB Downtown Gateway, the institute is a pioneer in UB's renewed investment in and commitment to stronger university-community connections for a more vital downtown Buffalo and region.

"We want to celebrate this new chapter in the institute's history, one offering greater visibility and opportunity for new partnerships and activities," said Kathryn A. Foster, institute director. "Proximity to our government, business and civic partners in the region's hub lets us broaden and deepen our regional connections."

The event was attended by university officials, regional leaders and community partners. Remarks were offered by Foster, James A. Willis, UB executive vice president, and James A. Gardner, vice dean for academic affairs in the UB Law School and chair of the institute's Advisory Council.

The university purchased the former M. Wile Building in 2007 as part of its expanded presence in downtown Buffalo, with the building envisioned as a new center for UB's academic and outreach services to the community.

Also housed in the UB Downtown Gateway are the administrative offices of UBMD, representing more than 450 faculty physicians, as well as the recently formed Office of Economic Engagement within the UB Division of External Affairs. UB Government and Community Relations and the Center for Educational Collaboration, a presidential initiative to foster collaboration with the Buffalo Public School system, will also move into the UB Downtown Gateway. In addition, the university is developing a new building for its Educational Opportunity Center adjacent to the UB Downtown Gateway. The two buildings will be connected by an atrium to form the UB Downtown Gateway Complex.

"With new spaces and programs, the UB Downtown Gateway builds on the university's presence within the downtown medical corridor, and will significantly advance the UB 2020 initiative," said UB President John B. Simpson. "Over the course of the next few years, the community can expect to see additional units follow the institute to create an engaging, vibrant space for university-community interaction."

Erected in 1924 as the M. Wile & Company Factory Building for men's clothing, the structure is a classic example of a "Daylight Factory," with an exposed concrete frame and large, steel sash windows that would have flooded the space with natural light and fresh air to provide a pleasant working environment for factory workers.

The institute's refurbished space, envisioned and developed by UB capital planning and facilities units, preserves the historical character of the building while providing a highly functional space for the institute.

"The institute's cutting edge space is a direct result of the vision of UB's space planners and architects," said Subbiah Mantharam, institute director of operations. "From state-of-the-art wall systems to an abundant use of glass to preserve the flow of natural light, they demonstrated tremendous flexibility and creativity."

"The UB Downtown Gateway renovation project represented an exciting foray into new territory for university facility planning and interior design, with opportunities to apply innovative design concepts and new materials to an historic urban structure," said Ronald H. Place Jr., associate director for the UB Office of Capital Facilities and Space Planning.

For more information, visit the institute online at http://regional-institute.buffalo.edu.

The UB Regional Institute is an interdisciplinary research and policy center applying evidence-based analysis to issues affecting regions. With a focus on the binational Buffalo Niagara region, the institute leverages its expertise, capacities and partnerships to ask critical questions, inform debate and guide change. A major center of the University at Buffalo, the institute is a unit of the UB Law School.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.