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Todd Curtis, University of Utah
University of Utah students move into the Lassonde Studios, a one-of-a-kind facility where U. students can live, create new products and launch companies.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah recently opened the doors to the $45 million Lassonde Studios, a one-of-a-kind facility where students can live, create new products and launch companies.

A dedication and open house will be held on Thursday, with public tours from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

“The University of Utah is already among the best schools in the country for entrepreneurship. Lassonde Studios will help us reach the next level,” Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business, said in a statement. “We train thousands of students, help develop hundreds of startup companies and provide dozens of programs to all students. The building will amplify all of these efforts, allowing us to give every student at the University of Utah an entrepreneurial experience.”

The 160,000-square-foot building houses a 20,000-square-foot innovation space on the first floor. It features a workshop and cafe open to all students at the U. with workbenches, group work areas, 3-D printers, laser cutter, power tools and more. Above that are four themed floors of student housing where 400 students live, collaborate and launch new ideas. Themes include sustainability and global impact; products, design and arts; adventure and gear; and games and digital media. The themes are designed to encourage collaboration across academic disciplines.

More than 1,300 students applied to live at Lassonde Studios in the inaugural year. Those selected to live there are called the Lassonde 400 and have a variety of academic interests, including business, engineering, computer science, video games and film.

Lassonde Studios is made possible through the vision and generosity of Pierre Lassonde, a world-renowned gold investor, founder of the Franco-Nevada Corp. and U. alumnus who donated $25 million to support the studios and related programs.

He founded what is now the Lassonde Institute at the U. in 2001 with the goal of creating a center that would help students learn about entrepreneurship by working across disciplines on business ventures. That vision has grown to become one of the top entrepreneur programs in the country in just 15 years.