The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Gannon Gains Community Space for Environmental Project


Gannon is working with the Blasco division of the Erie County Public Library to rent research space for project NePTWNE (Nano & Polymer Technology for Water and Neural-networks in Erie). The project is meant to clean up Lake Erie and boost the local economy.

The plan for the library is to accomplish Phase 2 of 6 with NePTWNE. Phase 2 entails the creation of the Great Lakes Research and Education Center. This center is meant to provide connections between Gannon researchers, Erie residents, and draw interest from visitors to Lake Erie.

Gannon’s lease agreement will last for 10 years, with the option of renewal after. The renewal of the lease will be in five-year intervals with a maximum of 25 years total. This project will cost Gannon approximately $22,000 annually ($7 per square foot per year).

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The 3,280-square-foot center will house research, exhibits and a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) science sphere. All these new facilities will be open to the public free of charge.

Gannon announced on the project’s flyer that the library was selected as Gannon’s research facility aligns with the mission outlined in the library’s 2019 Master Plan. The brochure said:

“Though Gannon’s Great Lakes Research and Education Center wasn’t initially part of the County Public Library’s Master Plan…. the center aligns with the objectives outlined in the master plan, such as increasing library meeting spaces for nonprofit and community organizations; strengthening partner relationships based on identified needs; assessing core partner relationships; and launching proactive outreach efforts to address community needs.”

These terms within the master plan opened the gates for negotiations between Gannon and Erie County. The Erie County Council approved project NePTWNE’s addition to the library on October 17 without the input of the Erie Community.

Erie residents raised concerns about the project taking away community resource space. One argument insists that the resource, while beneficial and important, deserves its own space (A.J. Rao Erie Times News).

These concerns formulated into a peaceful protest on November 4 at the library. The protest also started a petition in opposition of the project due to little community input on the decision to have public space dedicated to a private establishment.

One observation made by Gannon in promotion for the center is that Erie funding provided to the university will go back into the community and serve the Lake Erie ecosystem.

Work will start at the library in early 2024 with plans to be completed by the end of the year. More coverage of the community’s response to and development of Gannon’s Research and Education Center initiative to come.

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About the Contributor
Jillian Wells
Jillian Wells, News Editor
Hello, this year's News editor for the 2023 academic school year is Jillian Wells. She has written for the Gannon Knight as a staff writer periodically for the last two years and is looking forward to adding a third as an editor. She is also a co-editor for Gannon’s Literary Art Magazine the Totem, and a member of the English Honors Society Sigma Tau Delta. She is an easy-going person and tends to open up the more you get to know her. A good book and a cup of tea (or coffee) are all she needs for a free afternoon, and she is most definitely a dog (and cat) person. Jillian says that The Knight is a way for students and faculty to stay connected to the happenings around campus and to be a part of that is a great privilege. She hopes to do the best by you all.

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