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Case Western Reserve University details plans for new $300 million interdisciplinary research building

The hope? The new building comes with new businesses and new talent coming into Cleveland
File image: Case Western Reserve University Campus
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 05, 2023

CLEVELAND — Case Western Reserve University is making its single biggest investment, outside of medical research, in 30 years: a new, interdisciplinary research facility.

Eric Kaler is the president of Case Western Reserve University and noted that while it’s not a cheap investment, estimated to cost around $300 million, he is confident it is one that will pay off in the end.

“We have some really terrifically talented researchers, but they are working in spaces that are 50, 60 or 70 years old and just not conducive to the modern research that we need to be doing,” said Kaler.

The building will be for sciences — chemistry, biology, physics, etc. — and engineering — biomedical, computer, mechanical, etc. — to research and solve modern problems.

“In areas like energy, like climate change, like computer science, big data, artificial intelligence. All of the problems that are on the front page of newspapers or newscasts are going to be ones that are important to us to solve in this new space,” Kaler said.

The new building will be in the "Case Quad" and replace Yost Hall off Euclid Avenue. Kaler said they’re designing the building to be a seamless transition from university to community.

“We are going to open up a hole in that row of buildings, and we are going to take down a building called Yost Hall, which is on MLK, and replace it with this new, interdisciplinary science building,” he said. “We want to solve problems of all dimensions, that help all people, and we want to be a part of our community. So, we want to open this beautiful space that’s in the Case Quad to the community.”

Baiju Shah, the president of Greater Cleveland Partnership, said it’s critical to have universities in the area to attract businesses to the region.

“Businesses have recognized the critical role that research institutions can play in their success, and they gravitate around research institutions that are able to partner with them on these fundamental technology innovations,” said Shah. “One of the most exciting areas for us that we see Case taking is a leadership role in is in the whole area of sustainable manufacturing. So, we have always been known in Greater Cleveland as a region where we make things that matter, and now it's about making things that matter both smarter and greater."

Shah said not only does an investment like this building attract businesses to the area, but also students, who will hopefully start a life and stay in Northeast Ohio after graduation.

“Case Western, in particular, is a net importer of students. They bring more students from outside the region that stay in the region after they graduate,” he said. “The data is very strong. Regions that are able to attract and retain educated talent, educated talent at all levels, not just college graduates, have stronger economic performance in the 21st Century.”

He said, in total, about 48% of students who attend college throughout Northeast Ohio stay in the area after their time at school comes to an end; the benchmark is 54%.

“That is six percentage points, which translates into about 3,000 students each year. If we can get that 48% to 54%, it's 3,000 additional college graduates staying in our region, supporting the growth of our companies and institutions.”

The demolition of Yost Hall is set to begin in the fall of 2023, and construction should be complete in 2026, in time for the university’s 200th anniversary of its founding.

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