Doors opened Wednesday at Greenwood Genetic Center's newest research facility -- the Self Regional Healthcare and Clemson University-sponsored Self Regional Hall.
"This project has been in the works for a long time, and it's taken a lot of turns," said Clemson President James Clements. "There's some very important work taking place here."
The 17,000-square-foot facility will house the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics, he said. There, graduate students and researchers will develop diagnostic tests and treatments for Autism spectrum disorder and other genetic disorders, he said.
The youngest of Clements' four children was born with multiple genetic disorders, he said, and there was once a time where his family thought she would never crawl, walk or talk. She has surpassed all of those expectations, he said, with the help of genetic specialists who diagnosed and treated her.
"As the parent of a child with special needs, the kind of research that you're doing here is especially meaningful and important to me and my family," he said.
Inside, the building has eight laboratories along with classrooms, conference rooms and offices for research staff. Guests from each affiliated agency, along with representatives from city and county government, gathered for the ribbon cutting and a tour of the facility.
"Today is most definitely a day of celebration," said Self Regional Healthcare CEO Jim Pfeiffer. "The genetic center is a diamond just to have the talent and innovation here in Greenwood."
Dr. Steve Skinner, director of the genetic center, said the building marks a step forward in collaboration with Clemson and Self Regional Healthcare -- one that will bring more researchers to Greenwood to broaden the areas of study at the genetic center.
"It means we can finally start pulling the teams together locally," he said. "We can bring in more grad student and have more minds at work."
While the expansion's main contribution is to improving genetic research in the area, the Self Foundation's President Frank Wideman said bring world-class researchers to Greenwood might also attract industry to the area.
"It will create the environment to attract outside industry and research partners to pair with the genetic center," he said.
The opening of Self Regional Hall comes about a month after the genetic center announced it was investing $5.5 million to create a diagnostic testing laboratory that will create 15 jobs. The project was helped along by the passing of the Capital Projects Sales Tax in November, which included allocating $358,283 for the installation of a new fiber optic data cabling and related equipment on the center's campus.
Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.