Notre Dame, GE partner in turbine research

FILE - In this file photo from Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, a General Electric logo is displayed on a kitchen appliances in a  H.H. Gregg store. (AP File Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
FILE - In this file photo from Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, a General Electric logo is displayed on a kitchen appliances in a H.H. Gregg store. (AP File Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The University of Notre Dame and General Electric Co. on Thursday announced plans to partner in a $36 million research and test facility for massive gas turbine engines used by commercial and military aircraft, power plants and the oil and gas industry.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility at a technology park south of downtown South Bend that once was the site of the Studebaker Corp., which closed in 1963.

“This venture will be a cutting-edge research and testing facility for the turbine engine industry as well as a tremendous economic driver for our region,” the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university’s president, said in a statement.

The facility will hire some 60 employees with an average salary and benefits package of about $79,000, the university said. Local suppliers will also need to expand their workforce to meet the facility’s demand for precision manufactured components, it said.

GE will simulate full-scale engine operating environments at facility, according to Rick Stanley, vice president and chief technologist for GE’s Power and Water business.

Great Lakes Capital is providing about $6 million for construction of the 43,000-square-foot building. Notre Dame plans to lease about 25,000 square feet of the building. Plans for the rest of the building weren’t immediately announced.

GE has committed $13.5 million to fund research and testing for five years while Notre Dame plans to contribute $7.5 million and the city of South Bend is contributing $4.4 million. The state of Indiana, through the Indiana Economic Development Corp., is providing up to $600,000 in training grants and up to $2 million in infrastructure assistance. Indiana Michigan Power will invest $2 million in a new substation.

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