Florida Atlantic University
fau Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute

Florida Atlantic University temporarily closes $35 million building that opened in November on Jupiter campus

Aug. 31, 2023
University officials closed the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute after problems surfaced with its control systems.

A $35 million building completed in November 2022 at Florida Atlantic University's campus in Jupiter has been shut down while investigators try to determine the cause of problems with the facility.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute was the workplace of 75 faculty members, students and staff until late July, when university officials evacuated and closed the building after problems surfaced with its control systems.

Engineers are investigating the problems, which included pressurization difficulties that caused researchers and other workers to be unable to open the doors of the rooms in which they were working.

Cara Perry, a university spokesperson, said that contractors and engineering firms are working on the issue and "progress is being made." She described the problem as "a glitch" and said the building was evacuated "out of an abundance of caution."

The three-story, 58,000-square-foot building on the John D. MacArthur Campus had its official ribbon-cutting Jan. 19, but the building had been used for a couple of months prior to that.

The institute was founded in 2016 at the Jupiter campus but lacked its own building. Its research is focused on the study of brain disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, autism, addiction and brain cancer.

The final building inspection for a certificate of occupancy was conducted by the State Fire Marshall and the university building code administrator, Perry said. The problem did not exist when the initial inspection was done. It was identified July 26. All occupants were notified that day and were successfully relocated by July 30.

FAU officials say they are hopeful the issue can be identified and fixed within six months.

The space that the institute previously occupied on the Jupiter campus was still vacant, so the research was able to be moved to that space when the new building was closed. 

The first floor of the new building is a public area featuring a reception space, lobby and auditorium, The second floor houses the Center for Cellular Neuroimaging.

The Center for Computational Neuroscience occupies the third floor and served as a space for high school, undergraduate and graduate students studying computational biology, chemistry and neuroscience.

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