BRIC Stakeholders briefed on progress at June event
WACO, Texas - At a June 3 meeting at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative, more than 30 representatives from an array of Waco-area municipalities, economic development organizations, foundations, and educational institutions heard Baylor Vice Provost for Research Dr. Truell Hyde report details of the BRIC's surprising growth.

WACO, Texas - At a June 3 meeting at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative, more than 30 representatives from an array of Waco-area municipalities, economic development organizations, foundations, and educational institutions heard Baylor Vice Provost for Research Dr. Truell Hyde report details of the BRIC's surprising growth.

"We now have 151,000 square feet occupied," he said of the approximately 300,000-square-foot facility. "And we've only been open two years."

Among the latest BRIC developments Hyde described was formation of LEx Laboratories, a collaboration between Waco-based Education Service Center Region 12, Fort Worth architecture firm Huckabee, Inc., and Baylor University tasked with developing innovative and readily adaptable learning spaces. He also reported that aerospace giant, L3, Inc. recently had doubled the size of its engineering footprint in the BRIC, and told attendees of engineering and innovation firm Birkeland Current's just-completed move to the BRIC.

Hyde said these developments signal an eagerness on the part of start-up and established companies alike to tap into the wealth of human and technological resources the BRIC and its partnering institutions make available. That includes access to TSTC Waco's workforce training and development expertise and the BRIC's cadre of Baylor researchers and graduate students from a broad array of disciplines.

"Birkeland Current is a startup that's already hiring people," said Hyde. "And the people (Birkeland Current founder and president) John Fitch is hiring are from Baylor, they're from TSTC, and he's finding from talking to people in the building that there are people here with overlapping research interests that they can put together. And that's the whole idea," he said.

Hyde further reported that construction was complete or nearing completion on several laboratory expansion projects and on spaces designed to provide a congenial setting for graduate student mentoring. He also detailed significant progress toward start of construction of the BRIC's three-story-tall microgravity drop tower, funded in part by the Cooper Foundation.

Following the meeting, the group joined Baylor president and chancellor Ken Starr, Waco mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr., other invited dignitaries and members of the public in attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies organized by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce for LEx Laboratories and Birkeland Current. Attendees then were invited to enjoy the BRIC's expansive exhibition of artwork by Karl Umlauf, who recently retired after more than a quarter-century as Baylor's artist-in-residence. The artist was on-hand to discuss his work and career. The Umlauf exhibit is made possible in part by a grant from the Waco Foundation.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.