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The inside of the Stafford research and technology center.

Stafford County officials on Thursday unveiled what they hope will become a major research and technology center minutes from Marine Corps Base Quantico.

U.S. Congressman Rob Wittman, Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Bill Howell and the presidents of George Mason University, Germanna Community College and the University of Mary Washington were among the dignitaries on hand Thursday for the grand opening of the Stafford Technology and Research Center at Quantico.

For now the center consists of an 1,100-square-foot third-floor suite with state-of-the-art technology in a four-story office building at the Silver Cos.’ Quantico Corporate Center development off U.S. 1 in North Stafford. There, Stafford’s academic partners—GMU, UMW and Germanna—will teach classes beginning this fall catering to defense contractors. The University of Maryland University College also has a presence at the QCC.

Stafford Economic Development Director Tim Baroody called the small office a first step toward a research park focusing on law enforcement, the military and the intelligence community. Silver has pledged to give Stafford two acres at the QCC for a 35,000-square-foot stand-alone building where research and classes could occur.

Numerous high-profile defense contractors have leased all of the 450,000 square feet of office space that has been developed at the QCC over the past few years. Many defense- and intelligence-related federal agencies are based nearby.

Dennis McBride of GMU’s Office of Research and Economic Development has been named as the interim part-time executive director of the research park. Eventually there are plans to hire a full-time director.

McBride said GMU plans to offer graduate-level classes there. The vision is for a park where academia, the private sector and the federal government work together to produce cutting-edge research and new companies.

Silver is now working on attracting new businesses to the QCC. Construction on a Courtyard by Marriott hotel is getting started, and more retail is planned at the main entrance off U.S. 1. The main road through the QCC is being extended to Telegraph Road, which will make it easier for contractors to access the Russell–Knox Building on the Quantico base. An upgrade of the nearby intersection of U.S. 1 and Telegraph Road is also in the planning stages.

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