Patel Center construction close to completion

After a year of construction, a new on-campus building visible along Fowler Avenue will be completed next month.

The building plan for the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions has remained on course and “will be completed as designed,” said Ray Gonzalez, assistant director of Project Management Facilities, Planning and Construction.

“The interior of the building is 90 percent complete,” Gonzalez said, and the construction is concluding with minor interior details that include adding furniture.

“The project went smoothly,” he said. “There were no construction issues that came up that affected the construction budget or schedule.”

Located across from MOSI, the center will be a research facility that supports distinguished research and educational programs that promote sustainable, healthy communities in a globalizing world, said Rebecca Lee Harris, assistant academic director of the center.

Founded in 2005, the center’s main focus will be education, sustainable activities, urbanization and migration and water and sanitation, according to its website.

The building will join several institutions, including the Confucius Institute, the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Center for India Studies, to discuss and find global solutions, like helping to replace a 60-year-old, gravity-fed supply tank that is in disrepair in the Dominican Republic.

“The new, big beautiful global institution will help facilitate (everyone in the Patel Center) for brainstorming purposes about upcoming events, such as speakers,” Harris said.

Because the departments will be housed in the same building, “it will be easy to talk to each other and collaborate more easily than in the past,” she said.

The center received a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification because of its commitment to green project designs, development and operations.

He said the design and construction team, which consisted of Ponikvar and Associates architects and Charles Perry Construction, were experienced with these types of facilities and have worked in the past on other LEED-certified buildings in the state, such as those for education, medicine and office space.

Some of these features include adding rain water harvesting, solar panels to supplement the hot water system, a reflective roof to reduce solar heat gain, pervious paving and a digital energy monitoring display, he said.

“The landscaping concept also utilizes drought tolerant native species to reduce irrigation needs,” Gonzalez said.

The new building will not only help the Patel Center, but will also help the University, he said.

“The new Patel Center for Global Solutions will give the University students, faculty and staff a wonderful opportunity to come together and promote the internationalization of the USF system,” Gonzalez said.

The first floor will feature the suite of offices where both International Student Services and Education Abroad will be housed, he said.

“This will allow students and faculty alike easy access to advisers and support services,” Gonzalez said.

The east wing of the first floor will feature an auditorium capable of seating 250 people, four meeting rooms and catering facilities.

“This design will allow for larger conferences,” Gonzalez said. “But also allow for smaller, more flexible space for interdisciplinary and organization meetings around international topics.”

The second floor will feature global research and collaborative enterprise areas.

“USF is engaged in remarkable research and innovation across the system,” Gonzalez said. “But until now, the faculty and students engaged in global interdisciplinary research have not had a ‘synergy space’ – somewhere we could all come together and share emerging ideas.”