Contractors began site clearing for the third in the series of UCF buildings in the Central Florida Research Park dedicated to partnerships among UCF and the Department of Defense. The five-level office and research lab facility will be shared by the Institute for Simulation & Training (IST), other UCF departments and components of the defense community.

IST will coordinate construction of the $20 million building. Funding is provided from state sources.

Originally cut from Florida’s 2007 budget, funding for the building was committed in 2008, just ahead of the economic downturn. Driving motivation for the partnership series is to help sustain Orlando as a hub for simulation research and industry development. The Partnership facilities help maintain a significant DoD presence, which, in turn, contributes to the local economy.

“The new building and the three other joint-use research park buildings whose renovation or construction IST has supervised are models of cooperation that have helped simulation R & D stay strong in Central Florida,” said IST Director Randall Shumaker.

IST Associate Director for External Development Mark Yerkes manages the project for UCF. He also was in charge of Partnership II construction in 2003-2004. Yerkes said new construction will benefit considerably from reuse of the former building’s designs.

“P-III is basically a mirror image of P-II,” said Yerkes. “That saved a lot of time and several millions in architectural design costs, allowing us to add energy efficiency improvements to qualify for an environmentally friendly ‘LEED Silver’ designation.”

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that verifies a building project is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to work.

When construction is completed (target: summer of 2010) IST will consolidate its labs and offices into the lower floors of both P-II and P-III.