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Georgia Tech – Cobb County Research Campus

Strategic investments in dynamic testing and research facilities

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By the early 1980s, Georgia Tech was beginning an enormous research expansion.

Not only was the university motivated to grow its research enterprise – it had discovered a mechanism for financing new facilities at a minimal cost.

Harnessing TUFF’s 501(c)(3) status and mission-driven approach to investment, Georgia Tech was already pursuing a new, on-campus research facility: the Centennial Research Building. At roughly the same time, an additional opportunity materialized. One of Georgia Tech’s private sector partners, Lockheed Martin, decided to sell an off-campus facility that university researchers were already using.

Georgia Tech turned to TUFF to finance the acquisition, support a new satellite campus, and invest in university research initiatives.

With a $14 million investment, TUFF acquired the 52-acre site for Georgia Tech.

Located adjacent to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the Lockheed Martin facility would allow Georgia Tech researchers to:

  • Test new defense tools for the US government
  • Safely perform research on laser, radar, and x-ray technologies
  • Strengthen the institution’s partnership with Lockheed Martin
  • Expand the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the university’s primary applied research and development organization

Georgia Tech saw opportunity, and TUFF moved quickly to complete the acquisition. Through a master lease agreement, Georgia Tech leases the entire facility – now the Cobb County Research Campus – from TUFF.

27 years later, TUFF reinvested in renovations at the Cobb County campus.

By 2009, aging mechanical and electrical systems were making it expensive for Georgia Tech to operate the facility. The technology infrastructure was outdated, too.

To help Georgia Tech improve the campus, TUFF invested $19 million in tax-exempt debt. After two years of renovations, the Cobb County facility now boasts new chillers, zoned HVAC, sensor-based lighting systems, and upgrades to offices and conference rooms.

The campus finally has a 21st century feel. Thanks to their infrastructure improvements, GTRI also saves over $180,000 annually on utility costs.

Facility Specifications

  • 6 buildings
  • 160,000 square feet
  • 52-acre site
  • Houses GTRI laboratories:
    • Advanced Concepts Laboratory (ACL)
    • Aerospace, Transportation and Advanced Systems Laboratory (ATAS)
    • Center for International Development and Cooperation (CIDC)
    • Electronic Systems Laboratory (ELSYS)
    • Sensors and Electromagnetic Applications Laboratory (SEAL)