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ORAU Unveils Technology-Rich Oak Ridge Conference Center and New $8.9 Million Office Building

May 21, 2004

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Two major projects that define the modern-day role of Oak Ridge Associated Universities in both education and community service will be unveiled in ceremonies here on Tuesday, May 25 and Wednesday, May 26.

Bolstered by an almost-million dollar Small Business Administration grant secured by U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp in cooperation with the city of Oak Ridge, the historic Pollard Auditorium has been transformed into the Pollard Technology Conference Center. Funding for the $1.4 million renovation project was completed with approximately $500,000 from ORAU, according to Ron Townsend, ORAU president.

Ceremonies to celebrate the technology-rich “new Pollard” will be beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25, in the lobby of the new conference center.

Connected to the center by an enclosed walkway is the new $8.9 million, three-story ORAU office building that will be home to approximately 180 staff members who perform work as part of ORAU’s contract to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a Department of Energy institute. The new office building is a key component of ORISE’s modernization and consolidation plan and will be presented to the public during a grand opening and ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 26.

Pollard is a unique facility that will serve both ORAU and the City of Oak Ridge as a 10,000-square-foot conference center with a 300-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium, spacious lobby, and four multi-functional conference rooms that are all equipped with the latest technology. The center offers such features as videoconferencing, Web casting, wireless Internet facility-wide, and audio-visual routing that enables activities going on in the auditorium to be broadcast throughout the facility.

This facility creates a special tie between ORAU and the city of Oak Ridge. “The thing I’m most proud of about this Pollard project is that we’ve been able to partner with the city, leverage the magnificent contribution of Congressman Wamp and help shape the future,” Townsend said. “I think it’s important we recognize that the future of Oak Ridge is absolutely bright and that we can do something to help shape that future—not just let things happen, but make things happen. Pollard Technology Conference Center is one of those things that, working as partners, we’ve made happen.”

The Pollard Center’s role in Oak Ridge’s future is not lost on Oak Ridge Mayor David Bradshaw. “We know the advantages this is going to offer Oak Ridge Associated Universities, but what this new updated facility does is allow regular citizens, community groups, and others a facility for their needs,” Bradshaw said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to use a very modern facility, not just for government activities, but for events in the city. This is a great benefit to the City of Oak Ridge.”

The Pollard grand opening event on Tuesday, May 25, will feature comments from Wamp, Townsend, and Bradshaw. This event is by invitation only.

Wednesday’s grand opening ceremonies of the $8.9 million ORAU office building will feature Gerald Boyd, manager of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Operations office, Mayor Bradshaw, Bonnie Bruton, chair of the board of directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, and ORAU President Ron Townsend. Following the brief ceremony, the public will be invited to tour both the new office building and the Pollard Technology Conference Center.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
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Wendy West
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