Rutgers to Build Endocrine Research Facility

Rutgers University is in the final stages of preparing the construction of the Endocrine Research Facility, a $4.5 million project on Cook campus. The Board of Governors approved a resolution last Friday awarding a contract for construction of the facility.

"The building will be used to a develop state-of-the-art laboratory facility where state-of-the-art research can be done," said Dipak Sarkar, director of the endocrine program.

The building will expand the Animal Science Endocrinology Program, as well as its research laboratories and offices, according to a report on facilities projects released in May.

Endocrine research involves the study of the endocrine gland, which produces hormones, Sarkar said. Endocrine glands include the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands.

Endocrine problems include diabetes, obesity, energy problems, reproductive disease and even cancer, he said.

"Diabetes is one of the most serious problems in the world, and in New Jersey State there are a tremendous amount of cases involving thyroid cancer," said Sarkar. "[The endocrine gland] is critical for the body's immune system, reproductive system, metabolism and body growth."

There are 20.8 million people in the United States who have diabetes, which is 7 percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association Web site.

An estimated 14.6 million people have been diagnosed, while approximately 6.2 million are unaware they have the disease, according to the Web site.

Although the research facility will require more than $4.5 million before it can be completed, recent budget problems have already affected the building.

Nearly $6 million was approved April 11, 2003 for the project, according to the resolution passed by the board.

"[The facility] was originally a larger building," Sarkar said. "Because of the delay, the size has been reduced to half."

Construction of the building has been delayed because the decision of building it required a lot of approvals, planning with the architects and several phases of design, he said.

"I put the grant in four years ago, and there was some funding available from the National Institute of Health and Rutgers," Sarkar said. "Otherwise the building would have been done two years ago."

It will be a one-story, stand-alone building on Poultry Lane behind the Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences building on Cook campus, according to the May report.

The project is the only Cook campus construction in the May report. Other construction is based on Busch and the College Avenue campuses. After the building is constructed, faculty will move in and research programs will open up for students.

Graduate students will be able to spend four to five years doing research at the facility, Sarkar said.

Designers and the federal government have already approved the plans for the facility.

"Things are really progressing now. I anticipate [construction] to start soon," Sarkar said. "The building should be done by summer 2007." Hall Building Corporation was awarded the contract after winning the low bid of about $3.2 million for construction of the building.

(C) 2006 Daily Targum via U-WIRE