Seventeen years after the SimCenter came to the UTC campus, its building will have a new name.

In a couple of weeks, it will become the Multidisciplinary Research Building.

The change reflects the growing number of wide-ranging research projects and initiatives now housed in the building on M.L. King Boulevard, says Richard Brown, UTC executive vice chancellor for finance and administration. “The notion is to really repurpose that building,” he says. “It’s not only the SimCenter.”

The high-performance computing abilities of SimCenter (Center of Excellence in Applied Computational Science and Engineering) will remain, but it is sharing the space with the recently created Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, or CUIP. The new group is a member of a partnership between UTC, Chattanooga-based companies such as EPB and TVA and national organizations like Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation.

Also in the building is UTC’s Interdisciplinary Geospatial Technology Lab, which uses a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and cartography lab to support both on-campus and outside research projects, including some focused on conservation, biodiversity, clean water and recreation.

Joanne Romagni, dean of the graduate school and a member of the committee that has been discussing the new name, says calling it the SimCenter “is misleading” because the building now houses so much more.

The name change has been discussed for several months, Brown says, and the official renaming will take place in the next few weeks. The hope is that the Multidisciplinary Research Building will attract “a host of research projects,” he says. “We’re trying to center that.”

With the expected expansion in the number of projects, the building itself will probably need to be expanded, too, Brown adds.

The SimCenter came to UTC in 2002 after operating on the campus of Mississippi State University, where it was established in 2000 as part of the school’s College of Engineering.

“There’s no doubt that having a program like this in our community will enhance our ability in the area of job creation and economic development,” Bob Corker, mayor of Chattanooga at the time, said when the SimCenter opened at UTC.


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