Amazon second headquarters attracts multiple university expansions
Last week, the University of Maryland announced it was expanding its facilities and opening an 8,000 sq foot collaboration hub, complete with meeting rooms and space for business leaders and students to work together.
This may not seem unusual, especially given the renewed focus of higher education to work with industry. But the one thing surprising about this latest development is its location.
Because the university isn’t building the new facility on their local campus. They’re not even building it in the same state. Instead, the University of Maryland is opening this innovation hub in Arlington, Virginia.
The big draw that’s pushing the university to have a presence just one state over is an understandable one.
Arlington, Virginia is soon to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters. And the opportunity that comes with it is significant.
Amazon estimates its headquarters in Northern Virginia will bring 25,000 mostly tech-focused jobs to the area by 2030. The company is like a magnet for economic stimulus and universities and colleges want their own students and faculty to reap the benefits of this.
Several other colleges and universities in the area are also planning new facilities and expanding degree programmes to support the retailer’s needs.
In June, Virginia Tech unveiled plans for the construction of its new US$1 billion Innovation Campus in Alexandria, just two miles south of the Amazon site.
George Mason University is also expanding its Arlington campus, adding an extra 500,000 sq feet to its current 700,000 sq feet property.
Maryland hopes the new facility will serve as a bridge between their students and the tech giant.
“Amazon HQ2 is a regional phenomenon, and we are just a Metro ride away,” said university President Wallace D. Loh.
“This new space will help connect our flagship researchers and students with this emerging technology hub, fostering innovation in our growing Cyber Valley.”
Called the Discovery Centre, the new build will include provide spaces for academics, local businesses and community residents to interact and exchange ideas, as well as seminar rooms, a strategic planning and creative problem-solving centre, spaces for students to work with industry partners, and career development interview rooms to facilitate internships and employment opportunities.