Gov. Mike Easley and a host of state, university and industry officials were on hand Thursday morning for the groundbreaking ceremony kicking off construction of a Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center.

The facility, funded by a $33 million grant from the Golden LEAF, is scheduled to open in 2007. It will include 91,000 square feet of space and be built on NC State University’s Centennial Campus.

“This new, state-of-the-art facility will not only provide a hands-on, full-scale training environment for current and future biomanufacturing employees, but it will also attract new biomanufacturing, pharmaceutical and agribiotechnology companies to our state,” Easley said in a statement. “New companies mean new jobs and additional investments in North Carolina.”

The center is designed to link engineering, agriculture and life sciences faculty to research and teach methods of biotechnology implementation in manufacturing.