Officials of MiniMed Inc., a Sylmar biotechnical firm, joined Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and Cal State Northridge administrators Thursday to break ground for the university’s $80-million north campus biotechnology park complex.
Covering 720,000 square feet of floor space on 28 acres of the north campus property, the complex is the result of a partnership between the university and businessman Alfred Mann, chairman of MiniMed Inc., which specializes in insulin pumps for people with diabetes.
“The new biotechnology center will further our city’s leadership in combining science and medicine in solving so many problems such as juvenile diabetes,” Riordan said. “We look forward to the day when no child will die because of diabetes.”
Mann and Riordan were joined by CSUN President Blenda Wilson, Deputy Mayor Rockard J. Delgadillo and MiniMed President Terrance H. Gregg for the ceremonial shoveling of the dirt on the university’s north campus property, currently a paved parking lot near the corner of Lindley Avenue and Devonshire Street.
Faculty and community members, Councilman Hal Bernson, who represents the northwestern portion of the Valley, and James E. Mulvilhill, chief executive officer of the New York-based Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, also attended the ceremony.
As part of the festivities, the “Pump Girls,” a group of 11- to 16-year-olds with diabetes whose lives have been enhanced by an insulin pump developed by MiniMed, performed a song-and-dance number.
Construction on the complex’s first phase, which consists of a two-story, 170,000-square-foot building facing Zelzah Avenue and a 65,000-square-foot conference center, will begin immediately upon the completion of contract negotiations between Mann and CSUN, said Art Albert, CSUN vice president of the administration and finance department.
“All the major provisions have been agreed upon and now it’s a matter of getting the legal work done and getting the proper approvals, which we think will be in the next 30 days,” he said.