(Natalie Keith is a contributing writer to GlobeSt.com.)

DETROIT-Pending approval from the state, Wayne State University plans to break ground later this year on the new $27.3-million Marvin Danto Engineering Development Center.

A university spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that the three-story building will adjoin the existing main College of Engineering at the corner of Anthony Wayne River and Warren Avenue. The building is being designed by Dearborn-based architecture firm Ghafari Associates.

The building will measure 70,000 sf and will accommodate educational programs, research and development in the fields of biotech, nano-science and alternative energy technology. Programs that will make use of the space include Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems, Advanced Propulsion, Nanotechnology, Urban Infrastructure Research, Interdisciplinary MEMS/NEMS and a team-based student project area, the spokesman says.

The center is named after Troy business and philanthropist Marvin Danto who donated $3 million for the project. Danto is chairman and CEO of Troy-based Danto Investment Co. He is also the founder and owner of the Troy-based Michigan Design Center. Other funding sources for the project include $15 million from the state; $1.5 million from chemical engineering alumnus Yousif Ghafari; and $1.8 million from Ford Motor Co.

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