Steven Leath (file photo)

Steven Leath (file photo)

Iowa State University’s “Research Park” is expanding and new amenities are being added to make it more attractive to the people who work there.

“We recently signed a deal for a new restaurant, a fitness center, a salon and we’re finalizing deals for a child center, a health center and a bank,” says ISU president Steven Leath, “so not only does this make the park a better place to work, but it’s creating more jobs.”

Fourteen companies signed contracts in the past year to use the office space, laboratories and other facilities in ISU’s Research Park. Leath says at the end of November, there were 145 job openings at the companies located in the park.

“So the jobs are being created,” Leath says. “As a matter of fact, we’re struggling to fill them as fast as they’re creating them, which is a good problem to have.”

The research park was created in Ames in 1987 and is located about two miles south of the university’s football stadium. About 1300 full-time employees work at the companies located in the Research Park. About 300 ISU students have landed internships at those businesses.

“Of the last five companies that went public in Iowa, four of them came from the Research Park — out of the whole state,” Leath says, “so it gives you a perspective on what’s really happening at the park.”

There are seven buildings in the park that are owned and operated by the non-profit corporation created to manage the facilities. Two other buildings are owned by private developers, plus two more buildings are under construction and will open sometime next year.