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University of Oklahoma seeks to expand radar program

The University of Oklahoma's weather radar program already represents one of the university's top priorities. Now, the university hopes to expand on that program, moving from working strictly in weather radar to teaching and researching other uses for the technology.
by Silas Allen Published: April 13, 2012

Having strengths like radar research helps the institution as a whole, Droegemeier said, because it brings in revenue in the form of research grants. It also increases the university's prestige, he said.

In that sense, Droegemeier said, the university's academic side is borrowing an idea from its athletic department. In the same way the athletic department emphasizes football, Droegemeier said, the university identifies a few strengths and works to build on them. All the while, it ensures it offers adequate support to every other program on campus.

“You can't do that in 20 areas,” he said. “You have to pick a few.”

Once complete, the university's new Radar Innovations Laboratory will replace the current laboratory, which is located in a converted office in One Partners Place, an office building on OU's Research Campus.

Classified research

Robert Palmer, the director of the Atmospheric Radar Research Center, said the new facility will include a high-bay garage designed to accommodate taller radar trucks that are fitted for storm chasing. The building also will include classified research space designed for U.S. Defense Department programs, he said.

Other features will include two precision anechoic chambers, a machine shop and a so-called ideas room designed to foster collaboration. University officials will break ground on the project this summer. Palmer said he expects to see construction complete by December 2013.