By | May 22, 2007 12:00 am

ORLANDO– It took 15 mixer trucks several hours Tuesday to pour the foundation of the first building that will be constructed at the UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona.

The Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences building is expected to be complete by fall 2009.The five floors will provide researchers and graduate students 198,000 square feet of research and office space.

It is the first of several buildings that will create a biomedical cluster that will include UCF’s College of Medicine, Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences and other health sciences programs, the Burnham Institute and a satellite University of Florida research building. A new veterans hospital and Nemours Children’s Hospital also plan to locate at Lake Nona.

The College of Medicine is scheduled to open in fall 2009 with a class of 40 students. Dean Deborah German is working to raise money to provide all of the students in that first class full, one-year scholarships that include living expenses.

Pouring the foundation for the Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences is a major step forward in building the medical campus at Lake Nona.

“This is the foundation for the foundation of the ‘medical city’ that will be created here,” said M.J. Soileau, UCF vice president for research. “Biomedical sciences is the area that in the future will generate the so-called ‘disruptive technology’ that will result in new companies and cures for diseases.”

Professors in the college focus on genetic research in cancer, cardiovascular, infectious and neurodegenerative disease. They are working to identify, treat and eradicate these diseases through their genetic bases.

The facility on the main campus is crowded with many professors in various disciplines sharing office and lab space. The space crunch has made recruiting professors in this area challenging because there is no place to house them, Soileau said.

Once the new facility at Lake Nona is complete, as many as 300 scientists, students and support personnel will work there in state-of-the-art labs. One lab will be built separately from the main building to isolate it from vibrations that would interfere with highly sensitive “supermicroscopes.”

About two dozen workers poured 350 cubic yards of cement at the site Tuesday. At the peak of construction, about 250 people will be on site. The construction company is Whiting-Turner.

“This is the first building foundation to go in south of the (408)interchange,” said Maher Chatila, a construction manager with UCF’s office of Facilities Planning. “There’s quite a lot of excitement about this.”

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