The University of Colorado at Boulder has received another large contribution toward construction of the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building on the university’s East Campus -- this one from the federal stimulus initiative.

The university announced the $15 million grant Tuesday. The funds are distributed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

It is the latest of several large donations and grants in recent years for the research and teaching facility, whose construction began last September.

The 266,400-square-foot Caruthers building is going up on CU-Boulder's east campus, at Colorado Avenue and the Foothills Parkway. It will house the university's Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, the department of chemical and biological engineering, and the biochemistry division of the department of chemistry and biochemistry.

"Faculty and students will use the facility for fundamental research that is expected to make an impact on a wide variety of human health issues ranging from cancer, aging and cardiovascular disease to inherited diseases, vaccine development and regenerative medicine," CU said in a statement.

The building's first phase is slated for completion in late 2011. A 70,400-square-foot addition is anticipated later.

Some 60 CU-Boulder faculty as well as 500 graduate students, researchers and support staff are expected to work in the new building. The total estimated cost of the project's first phase is $145 million, of which the university has committed $60 million so far and donors have offered another $30 million.

The lead naming gift for the project came from CU-Boulder professor Marvin Caruthers, a noted biotechnology inventor who helped found the drug-manufacturing giant Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN). The building is named for Caruthers' late wife, who was adjunct professor in CU-Boulder's chemistry and biochemistry department.

In 2007, Marvin Caruthers donated $20 million toward the project -- one of the largest single private gifts ever made to the Boulder university.

In January of this year, Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen itself donated $1 million toward the building's construction. Amgen employs some 900 people in Boulder County, where it has manufacturing operations.

The $15 million stimulus grant was given to CU-Boulder’s Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology (CIMB) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a unit of the US Dept of Health and Human Services.

CU-Boulder professor and 1989 Nobel chemistry prize recipient Thomas Cech is CIMB's director.

"This is such an appropriate use of [stimulus] funds, because the Biotechnology Building will create jobs at three stages -- construction jobs in the near term, laboratory research positions once the building is occupied, and biotechnology jobs in Colorado over the following years as we work to enhance that industry in the state,” Cech said in a statement.

The CU project was chosen from among 1,200 applicants for a share of $1 billion in stimulus funds from the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources. About 10 percent of the applicants received funds.

Fundraising efforts for the Caruthers building are ongoing.

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