A Bold New Vision For Tech Square
The Tech Trolley ferries passengers from the main campus to Tech Square and the Midtown MARTA station.
Ron Hutchins is a man on a mission. He wants to raise the visibility of Information Technology on a university campus in ways we’ve seldom seen. Hutchins, Tech’s Associate Vice Provost for Research & Technology and Chief Technology Officer, is the visionary behind the plan to build a data center in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. He’s quick to point out though that the High Performance Computing Center is more than just a building to store equipment and disseminate data. Construction of the HPCC marks the beginning of a new phase in the expansion of Tech Square.
The center will host more than half a million total square feet of office space as well as a data center for computing and storage on Spring Street behind Tech’s Scheller College of Business. It will also include retail and parking space. Tech will occupy about half of the office space where Georgia Tech researchers from different disciplines will work along side industry partners on the same floor using the same common spaces. Hutchins calls it an “interdisciplinary research neighborhood” – an enhanced model for research interactions.
“We have several different units on campus that are doing something similar to this interdisciplinary research neighborhood model,” he said. “We have groups who are working as a single scientific discipline with industry, and some working as multiple disciplines together around a theme. But in these research neighborhoods we’ll be hosting multiple scientific disciplines and multiple industries on the same floor to solve problems.”
The HPCC will continue the Tech Square model of connecting with the Midtown community by attracting start-up companies and retailers.
“We’ve also looked at doing something like a museum in order to make this a destination for the City of Atlanta, so people want to come here and see it,” said Hutchins.
He acknowledges that his vision for the center is bold.
“Without an audacious vision, you don’t get people to support you."
Over 30 industry partners, Tech colleges, schools and interdisciplinary research institutes have expressed interest in the HPCC. Hutchins has hosted two events for Georgia Tech faculty and industry to share knowledge and generate interest. He will host another on Tuesday, November 11th during IPaT’s People and Technology Forum. If you're interested in attending the HPCC event, please register here.
Georgia Tech’s Board of Regents is currently reviewing the HPCC project. It could be approved as early as January, with construction completed by December 2017.