THE Donald Danforth Plant Science Center announced plans to build a new $45 million addition to its research facility in St. Louis, Mo.
The three-story addition will include flexible research laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment as well as core facilities and additional growth chamber space. The center plans to break ground in early 2014.
The new building, slated to open in the fall of 2015, will give the center the capacity to house more than 100 additional researchers.
"The center's expansion project is a major step in our long-range plans to increase our impact through plant science," Danforth Center president Dr. James Carrington said. "The new addition will improve the capacity for high-level science in crop improvement, bioenergy, sustainable agriculture and plant biology. The new facilities will also help attract the best scientific teams as we expand in the years ahead."
An important event that prompted the center's board of trustees to give the project the go-ahead was being awarded $4.5 million in contribution tax credits from the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB). The Danforth Center partnered with the St. Louis County Economic Council during the application for tax credits.
"The contribution tax credits were critical to raising the remaining funds we needed to move the project forward," said Dr. William H. Danforth, chairman of the board of trustees at the Danforth Plant Science Center. "The St. Louis County Economic Council and the MDFB have been key partners in the establishment and growth of the Danforth Center. Their confidence in our vision and mission has contributed greatly to our success, and we are grateful for their support."
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. The center's work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
"St. Louis is leading the way in plant science, and an important part of that is the work going on at the Danforth Center. In fact, there are now more plant scientists at this corner than anywhere else in the world," said Denny Coleman, president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis County Economic Council. "The Danforth Center constantly attracts new world-class talent to the St. Louis region. This is good news for everyone who lives here as well as all those around the world working to eliminate hunger."
The center was founded through a $60 million gift from the Danforth Foundation, a $50 million gift from the Monsanto Fund, a donation of 40 acres of land from Monsanto Co. and $25 million in tax credits from Missouri.