ARC Cuts Ribbon, Welcomes Tenants

Lon Slane is looking forward to having neighbors. And not, he joked, just to share the coffee pot.

He expects his firm, Dilon Technologies, will benefit from sharing office space in the same building with four universities, a federal research laboratory and a host of other agencies and businesses.

The neighbors should start moving into the Applied Research Center soon - there even will be an espresso machine downstairs. A range of government officials, scientists and business leaders toasted the building with a ceremony Monday.

While most of the building remains empty, Slane's company is already at work on the second floor, developing a breast cancer detection system. Gov. Jim Gilmore dropped by the office on his tour after the ceremony.

Slane likes the idea of consulting with engineers in the ARC or even dropping by the nearby Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. "We realize the Jefferson Lab is just a stone's throw away."

Lee Fairchild, Dilon's director of product marketing, also likes the prospect of meeting up with industry professionals in the hallway - instead of always having to schedule formal meetings - to exchange ideas. "So much of it's the informal conversations."

The city sees the $18.4 million building as the cornerstone of development of a 200-acre business park at Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road. Government leaders said they believe the discoveries made at ARC will put Newport News on the map and lead to more economic development.

The universities will begin moving into their labs within a couple of weeks and have them operational by the end of summer. Old Dominion University announced that it has received used equipment, worth $2 million when new, from Eastman Kodak Co. that it will use in its labs at ARC. The equipment includes high-power lasers and a scanning electron microscope.