Ponca City/ConocoPhillips make first payments for Oklahoma State University sensor facility
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
(PONCA CITY, OK) - An important new economic driver for Ponca City and Oklahoma took a big step Wednesday when Ponca City and ConocoPhillips each presented the first installment of a combined $4 million commitment to fund a far-reaching Oklahoma State University sensor research facility.
In a presentation at City Hall, Ponca City Mayor Dick Stone and ConocoPhillips Refinery Manager Ron Armstrong each presented checks in the amount of $500,000 to OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly and OSU Foundation CEO and President Kirk Jewell.
“This laboratory is not only a benefit to OSU, but will be beneficial to Ponca City and the entire North Central Oklahoma area while supporting our nation’s defense and security efforts,” OSU’s Schmidly said. “We are grateful to ConocoPhillips and the entire community of Ponca City for its continued support of OSU.”
The checks are the first of four installments to fund the OSU University Multispectral Laboratory (UML), which will serve federal, state and local commercial organizations. The UML is located in a 70,000 square-foot building located at the ConocoPhillips complex in Ponca City. The facility is part of a $2 million ConocoPhillips gift announced earlier this year that is being matched by the City of Ponca City through the Ponca City Development Authority.
"We are pleased to be a part of this OSU testing facility and laboratory, which will provide significant economic benefits to Ponca City," said Ron Armstrong, ConocoPhillips refinery manager.
According to Ponca City Development Authority Chair Lee Evans, the center will have a significant impact on the Ponca City Economy. “Our models show that the lab itself will provide $140 million in economic benefits over the next ten years,” said Evans. “We expect the actual impact to far exceed that amount as private companies seek to locate facilities near the lab in Ponca City.”
The UML will develop and test sensors and sensor systems. It is designed to support fast tracking and development of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive detection systems, as well as provide support for command, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
The primary mission is the rapid transfer of innovation through to commercialization and use. The UML will be the only center in the nation to provide a single location for all test and evaluation activities, including training.
OSU is partnering with AMTI, a leading government contractor and a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation. When fully operational UML will employ 80 scientists, engineers and support personnel with an annual payroll of approximately $13.8 million.
ConocoPhillips and the community of Ponca City have been tremendous OSU supporters and partners through the years. ConocoPhillips is OSU’s largest corporate donor and helped create the new OSU ConocoPhillips Alumni Center. Kay County trails only Tulsa, Oklahoma and Payne counties for most students enrolled at OSU, with more than 500 students today.