STAR Campus reaching new heights
A new construction site down on South Campus has the university moving upward—about ten stories high, to be exact. Peaking above the original Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Health Sciences Complex, the tower will continues the innovative and collaborative research that has fueled the STAR Campus’ development for the past five years.
The $40-million-dollar project will culminate in the completion of the third tallest structure in Newark, at a height of 150 feet. The STAR Tower falls slightly short of the two Christiana Towers located on Delaware’s North Campus.
The completion of the framework occurred on August 22, with a private ceremony of 150 spectators. In attendance was Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Kathleen Matt, university President Dennis Assanis, Gov. John Carney and President and Executive Chairman of Delle Donne Associates (DDA), Ernst Delle Donne.
“It’s more space, it’s more opportunity,” Matt said.
The continued expansion of STAR Campus’ research programs and additions, like the Speech-Language-Hearing clinic, have resulted in cramped quarters.
”Here at STAR, it’s great. But there’s too much going on anyways.” said Devina Kumar, a graduate student and project leader with the GoBabyGo! program. “I think we really need another building because the scope of research is so tremendous here at UD.”
The STAR Health Sciences Complex is currently ranked as the No. 1 nationally-ranked physical therapy program for nutrition, fitness counseling and a variety of other health clinics.
SevOne, Delaware Technology Park and Bloom Energy are some of the private businesses that share space at STAR Campus. The STAR Tower also has plans to reserve one-third of the building for high-tech businesses that will complement the other two-thirds that the College of Health Sciences will occupy.
The collaboration between DDA and the university in constructing the tower is a continuation of the partnership forged in the original construction of STAR Campus. Although the university owns the land, the Delaware-based real estate development company will own and privately finance the buildings and its construction.
The tower will continue to foster a collaborative environment among the different departments of the College of Health Sciences with open structures, natural light and small meeting spaces dispersed throughout.
“We really wanted to enhance more collaboration, we really wanted to be part of a space that is larger than us.” Matt said. “When you think about it, how you’re going to decrease healthcare costs, it’s really that team approach that involves prevention and wellness as part of primary care.”
There are also plans to have a “living wall” of plants and herbs created with help from agricultural students, a demonstration kitchen for dietetics students and even a large virtual reality simulation room to enhance the Healthcare Theater program that trains university nursing students.
The construction of the tower joins the $50 million reconstruction of the Newark Train Station and brings the addition of 450 more parking spaces. The university has also released a Request-for-Proposal for partners interested in building a full-service hotel.
Though there is much change on the way for South Campus, there is a notable lack of student-friendly accommodations, especially in regards to housing and access to food.
According to Matt, “When we inventory students, many of them have said to me, that they would love to be down here more and hang out. But we need places to eat, we need to sort of create those next pieces.”
Daniel Del Collo, a senior exercise science major, spends a lot of time at STAR Campus doing research and volunteering at the physical therapy clinic.
“Getting down here can be a pain, but if I could live down here that’d be great,” he said.
The official name of the tower has not yet been determined, but will be decided on by August 2018, the building’s expected completion date.