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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — To support its bid for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory management contract, the University of Tennessee is opening a full-time office here.

UT President Wade Gilley Wednesday announced plans for the office and said UT Senior Vice President Homer Fisher will head it. It will be located at 40 New York Ave., site of the current UT-Battelle Information Center.

UT and Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, have a partnership, UT-Battelle, in seeking the laboratory contract.

Gilley’s announcement came at a reception in his honor given by Science Applications International Corp.

The purpose of the new office, he said, is to strengthen ties with the Oak Ridge community, ensure university-wide support for UT-Battelle’s role with ORNL, and help achieve a smooth transition for the laboratory’s management.

“There is no better person to head this important new initiative than Homer Fisher,” Gilley said. “He has skillfully directed the university’s partnership with Battelle and has won wide acclaim from everyone with whom he has worked.

“I’m very happy Homer has agreed to take on this new assignment.”

Fisher has been active in the Oak Ridge community for most of the 22 years he has been with UT. He is chairman of the board of Technology 2020, is a member of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and was founder of KORRnet, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Community Network.

He is chairman-elect of the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. and the immediate past-president of the Great Smoky Mountain Council of Boy Scouts of America. He serves on the boards of several other organizations.

Gilley said Oak Ridge is vital to Tennessee and the nation and that UT has both a responsibility and commitment to the community as a neighbor and stakeholder.

The state’s planned investment of $18 million in support of UT-Battelle’s bid is just a beginning as UT and Battelle work to ensure completion of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and strengthening science programs throughout the laboratory, Gilley said.