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University of Arkansas Unveils New Expansion

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)-- After a little more than two years of work and about $3.2 million, the University of Arkansas showed off its newest expansion of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission, or NCREPT.

The extra 5,000 square feet will give students more space to further test their research.

Dr. Alan Mantooth, the NCREPT executive director, said currently students are working on developing smart grid devices and algorithms to help protect the grid.

He explained this expansion will offer students the chance to test their research with real world situations.

Something he said you cannot find at just any university.

"It is very rare actually," Mantooth said. "There’s only about 3 or 4 universities in the US to have the capability to do anything close to this and maybe a dozen in the world. So from that perspective, this is a wonderful opportunity for our students."

Andrea Wallace is one of the students who will benefit from the expansion.

She is a doctorate student working with power devices that go into power modules.

Before, Wallace said to test their research, they would have to go to other locations, but scheduling often got in the way.

She never imagined having something like this right on campus when she first started taking classes.

"It’s really nice because we’ve had a lot of new students, we’ve had a lot of new faculty come in," Wallace said. "So this is going to be a great space for students to not only come in and test but faculty to bring in more projects and more funding to the university so we can continue our research and do more and more research here."

The event had many different guest speakers that included U of A Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Arkansas State Senator Jim Hendren.

Mantooth is very excited to finally have this state of the art facility ready to go for the students.

While addressing the crowd at the ribbon cutting, he said they will be a part of the future because their job is to make things smaller, lighter and more powerful.