By Eric Althoff
TAMPA, Fla.—International construction and development firm Skanska, based in Sweden, has partnered with acclaimed architecture firm Gensler on the expansion of the University of South Florida’s Research Park, a mixed-use laboratory and office building facility.
The $27 million, three-story development encompasses 120,000 square feet of office and laboratory space in USF’s life sciences building. The interior now offers collaborative learning and experimentation areas, office space, as well as a ground-level dining commons and rooftop deck three floors above.
The Research Park at USF is meant to fashion an environment wherein innovation in an academic setting will go hand in hand with economic growth in the greater Tampa Bay area. As designed by Gensler, the Research Park will act as a welcoming space where scientists and project designers can collaborate at a state-of-the-art facility designed to stoke experimentation and discovery.
Thanks to this renovation, the Research Park’s capacity has increased by approximately 30 percent. Among other disciplines, the Research Park will focus on both tech and life sciences throughout the South Florida region.
“Given our trajectory working with the University of South Florida, our team is proud to deliver another state-of-the-art facility that will allow the university to continue to make meaningful investments in advancing life sciences and biotechnology,” Michael C. Brown, executive vice president and general manager of Skanska USA’s building operations in Florida, said of the expansion. “The completion of USF’s mixed-use lab and office project comes at a perfect time as Tampa continues to see significant business and population growth. The Research Park is an important driver to stimulate long-term innovation and economic growth in the region.”
In a subsequent statement to School Construction News, Brown added that the demand for space for life sciences experimentation and study is at an all-time high across the academic sector.
“Building on an active campus site comes with its own set of challenges which requires lots of communication amongst key partners,” Brown said of the difficulties of completing the project in a timely manner. “Not to mention the current supply chain shortages, so it was crucial to deliver this project on time given current market needs, and with the University’s schedule. Additionally, to remain competitive as technology evolves, the project was also built with flexibility and sustainability in mind.”
In addition to the Research Park, Skanska’s previous work at USF entails the Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute in downtown Tampa, completed in early 2020. The company continues to work in the education sector throughout the Sunshine State, including the University of Miami’s Frost Institute of Chemistry and Molecular Science. The firm has been in business for nearly 140 years and is one of the world’s largest development and construction companies.
Their U.S. headquarters are in New York, with 30 offices across America. The firm employs over 7,300 people, and saw 2021 revenue of $6.4 billion.