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New engineering center planned by Mississippi State

A new aerospace engineering center is planned by Mississippi State University to link defense-related research, officials said Tuesday.

The center is planned near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport on land to be donated to the university by retired architect Wayne Fishback of Simi Valley, Calif.

Fishback will donate 17.5 acres north of the airport near the U.S. 82 interchange midway between Starkville and Columbus, the university said.

“We anticipate developing a center of excellence in aerospace engineering that will focus on several aspects of aviation, including unmanned aerial vehicles,” Colin Scanes, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development, said in a statement.

Scanes said construction is expected to begin sometime in 2008.

Fishback also plans to donate another 10 acres of non-frontage land to the university at the GTR site, Scanes said. Scanes said the second tract will be used to build an incubator facility designed to spur the development of other aerospace-related industries in the area.

American Eurocopter and Aurora Flight Sciences are high technology, defense-related companies already operating near the airport site.

Tony Vizzini, who heads MSU’s aerospace engineering department, said the new center would share research and technology with the aerospace industry while addressing rapidly evolving civilian, homeland security and military issues.

“This is an important step in continuing the progress made to date by the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory and the department of aerospace engineering to attract aerospace industry to the area,” said Vizzini.