Georgia Tech Research Institute interim director Lora Weiss (center) shares a laugh after a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of a new facility in Cobb County. About 500 employees are expected to conduct research in the four building complex, which had been owned by Lockheed Martin. ERIC STIRGUS / ESTIRGUS@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech expands research operations in Cobb County

Georgia Tech officials unveiled its newest center Wednesday, a research facility in Cobb County it hopes will accelerate the school’s increasing research work in areas such as national security and homeland defense.

Georgia Tech had operations nearby for about 40 years, but officials said it needed the additional space as they anticipate doing more research work. Georgia Tech’s Research Institute received nearly a half-billion dollars in federal research funding in the last federal fiscal year, a 32% increase over the prior fiscal year, Weiss said. 

“We are proud to say we found the perfect place,” Lora Weiss, Georgia Tech Research Institute’s interim director, said before a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Cobb County’s Board of Commissioners approved a bond deal of $62.7 million for Georgia Tech to purchase four buildings and 32 acres from the aerospace and defense company, Lockheed Martin, in October 2017. The property is near Smyrna.

Officials involved in the deal said Georgia Tech’s expansion would help Cobb County’s economy. Tech’s Research Institute had about 600 employees working at its Cobb County facility and expects to have an additional 500 workers in its new center on the grounds.

Georgia Tech has renovated 375,000 square feet, and the expansion has cost $42 million, officials said. The property includes about 20 acres Georgia Tech plans to develop.

Georgia Tech and Lockheed Martin have worked together for years. Lockheed Martin hired Georgia Tech graduates. Those graduates helped the company with projects, such as developing air missile radar systems.

About 100 Georgia Tech, Lockheed Martin, Cobb County, state, federal and business leaders attended the ceremony. Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Boyce said the county government and school system will work on ensuring it has the necessary services for those new workers.

“We will not disappoint you in our commitment to support these programs,” Boyce told the audience.

Georgia Tech Research Institute’s has operations in 12 other states and Washington, D.C.

This is one of four buildings Georgia Tech has purchased from Lockheed Martin to expand its research operations at a facility in Cobb County. ERIC STIRGUS / ESTIRGUS@AJC.COM.

Here are five things to know about the center:

  • Cobb County’s Board of Commissioners approved a $62.7 million bond deal in October 2017 for Georgia Tech to purchase the property.
  • the size of the facility is now doubled from its original footprint in 1978.
  • the entire campus is 52 acres.
  • four of the eight Georgia Tech Research Institute laboratories will be located at the facility.
  • the facility previously housed operations for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet program.

Clarification: This article has been updated to state the Georgia Tech Research Institute received nearly a half-billion dollars in federal research funding in the last federal fiscal year.

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