Governor Announces Next-Generation Internet Facility in Ann Arbor

Contact: Susan Shafer (517) 335-6397

October 25, 2002


Governor John Engler joined Internet technology leaders in Ann Arbor today to unveil plans and announce a site location for the new Michigan Information Technology Center (MITC). The new 100,000-square-foot center will be located on Oakbrook Drive in Ann Arbor.


The MITC represents the fulfillment of a vision presented by Engler in his January 2001 State of the State address -- a home for Internet2 and the development of the next generation of Internet technology. In the address, Engler called on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to ensure that Internet2 had a permanent location in the state.


The facility, scheduled to be completed and ready for occupants by the end of 2003, will also become home to Merit Network, Inc. Merit is Michigan’s leading provider of advanced Internet services for research and education.


"Through the LinkMichigan initiative, Michigan is well on its way toward extending the reach of high-speed Internet access throughout the state," Engler said. "The Michigan Information Technology Center will continue Michigan’s leadership in information technology development, which will make that access even more important and valuable for users."


Internet2 is a private-public sector partnership whose goal is to create a faster electronic network than that which is offered by the present Internet. The University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), the non-profit organization supporting Internet2, will be housed in the facility.


"The support of the Governor and the MEDC for the Michigan Information Technology Center demonstrates a strong commitment to advance the state’s information technology environment," said Douglas Van Houweling, president and CEO of UCAID. "Internet2 shares the governor’s belief that technology is a critical ingredient in economic strength."


The MITC will have more than 100,000 square feet of space, including 10,000 square feet of high tech incubator/flexible office and lab space to lease to companies seeking short-term facilities as they work on projects with UCAID, Merit or other public or non-profit researchers. There will also be an Internet Hall of Fame and a high-speed Internet portal to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.


The Michigan Economic Development Corporation endowed the Michigan Information Technology Center with $10 million to assist in the initial and ongoing costs of the facility and its work.


"The growth and increasing usefulness of the Internet has created an important shift in how traditional business is conducted, as well as creating vast opportunities for new business developments," said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "Michigan owns a leadership role in the advancement of the Internet, and the MITC will further that leadership as the next generation of Internet technology is created."


The Michigan Information Technology Foundation will oversee the MITC facility and work to foster and develop new economic opportunities based on information technology. Van Houweling will be the foundation’s first chairman, and will also include representation from Merit Network, Inc., the MEDC and the Washtenaw Development Council (WDC).


The WDC has been closely involved in the process of reviewing proposals and determining the best site location in Ann Arbor for the new facility.


"The WDC is proud to be a part of the establishment of the Michigan Information Technology Center and the MITC Foundation," said Susan Lackey, president of the Washtenaw Development Council. "This project will ensure that the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Area, and Michigan as a whole, takes their place with the past and future pioneers of the Internet."


Elements identified for inclusion in Internet2 include multi-channel streaming media, virtual workspace manipulation, real time video conferencing, online libraries, inter-device mobile communications and other technologies yet to be developed.