Investing in state-of-the-art structures and equipment isn't just critical to advancing BGU's future, however. It is also critical to our larger mission of transforming Beer-Sheva and the Negev into a scientific, economic, and cultural engine for Israel and the world.
By attracting top researchers, for example, we increase the odds of these professionals settling in the Negev and strengthening it through their presence and careers. We are also a key reason for the planned relocation to Beer-Sheva of the IDF's technology units, whose 5,000 soldiers and advanced infrastructure will themselves change the face of Israel's southern periphery. And as one of Israel's top educators of computer scientists and engineers, we will provide a pipeline of hi-tech employees for Beer-Sheva's growing Advanced Technologies Park and upcoming Innovation District. Together with BGU, these multi-national companies and startups will turn the Negev into Israel's center for cyber security, digital health, and desert tech—and the source of solutions for some of the world's biggest challenges.
Key to advancing BGU's ambitious educational and research goals is the construction of a new North Campus, whose 57 acres will double our Beer-Sheva footprint. Along with enabling the expansion of existing disciplines and the establishment of new ones in line with national needs, the campus will also allow us to accommodate a larger student body, expected to increase with the growth and development of the Negev, as well as with the influx of soldiers and their families to new bases in the region and the forthcoming IDF technology campus next door. The first new structure on campus, therefore, is a 14-building, handicap-accessible Undergraduate Student Village for 1,000 occupants—our largest capital project since the founding of the University.
Our new, multi-disciplinary School of Sustainability and Climate Change — the only one of its kind in the world — will also attract more students, not only to our main campus in Beer-Sheva, but also to our campus in Sde Boker. By building new dormitories there, we will enable increased research at the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), where the number of graduate students working in such critical areas as water, energy, and drylands biotechnology is limited by housing availability. New dormitories at our Eilat campus will also advance research for sustainability: Along with the specialized study of coral reefs, the campus is home to one of Israel's leading programs in marine biology and SeaTech. By increasing housing for Eilat campus students — some of whom have difficulty meeting the admission requirements of our main campus, while others need programs that allow them to work full-time — we can also open pathways to academia in Israel's southern periphery and for a wider, more diverse cross-section of society.
A permanent studio on the Marcus Family Campus for BGU Radio was inaugurated recently. Through acclaimed podcasts, live broadcasting, and special programs for national holidays, BGU Radio enriches Israeli public discourse as it creates a more cohesive student community.
Expanding Research and Teaching Capacities
Among the North Campus' new facilities for teaching and research is the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Homeland Security, whose clean room complex will enable the nanofabrication of advanced devices, chips, and sensors that make BGU a sought-after partner for the IDF and defense industries. Moreover, the building's Remote Sensing Rooftop Facility will feature some of the world's most advanced equipment for satellite tracking and communication, widening the building's function from pure R&D to fully operational.
Meanwhile, our new Computer Science Building will enable the expansion of one of the fastest-growing fields at BGU and in the hi-tech industry worldwide. Future home to 40 labs, offices for 100 researchers, and a student center, the building will facilitate research in the emerging fields of computational linguistics, artificial intelligence, data mining, and computer vision, as well as teach a graduate student body expected to double in size. We are also planning a new home for our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which will help meet Israel's and the world's need for sustainable construction practices and construction solutions for increasingly challenging climates and landscapes. And the new laboratories in the Guzik Family Building for Biotechnology Engineering and the new Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building on the Marcus Family Campus will increase BGU's research capacity and position us to compete for top scientists in these fields.
The Sylvan Adams Sports Centre will be transformed through enlarged and renovated campus swimming pools, a new cycling room, and upgraded grounds and facilities, providing the student body and the local community with a state-of-the-art fitness experience. The new Medical Simulation and Classroom Building, completed in 2021, is a game changer for medical-simulation education in Israel. Serving as a central location for cross-disciplinary learning in the field, the building — which houses 28 different simulation rooms — will enable BGU to accommodate its growing medical and nursing programs as well as help the University draw top medical students and professionals to the South.
Putting Beer-Sheva on the Map
Long overlooked as a major event venue, Beer-Sheva is about to come into its own, thanks to the new Guzik Cultural Center at BGU. Featuring a 900-seat concert hall, the Center will not only bring renowned musicians to Beer-Sheva and host BGU ceremonies and conferences. It will also open up opportunities for Beer-Sheva to host major national and international events and conferences, thereby raising the University's and the city's profile significantly. The structure will also include an interactive Visitor's Center that will showcase the contributions of BGU to the Negev, Israel, and the world.
The new Cyndi and Max Mintzberg Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism Building and The Ben-Gurion Archives in Sde Boker will draw researchers, schoolchildren, Israelis, and tourists from around the world to the Negev, realizing Ben-Gurion's dictum that “whoever seeks wisdom, south shall he go."
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