The Leather Research Institute and the American Leather Chemists Association (ALCA) have moved into ‘first class’ office space at Texas Tech University. The groups now share more than 1,500 ft2 of high quality office and administration space in the University’s new Southwest Campus location. A sublease agreement with Tech’s Outreach and Extended Studies Division was recently signed, describing shared occupancy of the former headquarters of Furr’s Cafeterias at 6901 Quaker Avenue.

The 1980s’ wood and pebble masonry building sits adjacent to Godeke Lake and Loop 289, the interstate loop for Lubbock. ‘Several of Lubbock’s best restaurants and hotels are just a few minutes away’, said Dennis C Shelly, director of the Leather Research Institute (LRI).

‘This is an outstanding location and we are thrilled to be here’, Shelly said. Indeed, the new offices now have plenty of space for the Journal of the American Leather Chemists Association collection and inventory as well as the institute’s growing collection of leather and leather manufacturing literature resources. ‘We have room to grow and room to specialise in the services and resources needed by the domestic leather industry. A move so quickly after beginning our collaboration with the ALCA was unfortunate, but necessary’, Shelly admitted. ‘We had outgrown our temporary quarters in the chemistry/biochemistry building on Tech’s main campus.’

The Institute will still have a presence on the TTU main campus, though. The space, vacated when the LRI and ALCA office functions moved out, has become a laboratory suite, dedicated to engineered protein materials research and development. ‘All of the major instrumental techniques will be at our fingertips’, said Shelly, ‘nearly everything that we need to support the development of novel, protein-based materials. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board stimulated the Institute’s creation of this lab with its first major research grant, in January 2000.’

In October 2000, Texas Tech and LRI hosted the American Society for Testing Material’s Committee D-31, the group that proposes, evaluates, specifies and approves both testing methods and materials specifications. ‘We have very ambitious plans for conferences and special workshops; our new facilities and capabilities provide a great launching pad for our programmes.’ Another unique project that may be impacted by collaboration with their building mates, Outreach and Extended Studies, is a upper-level Internet/correspondence course in leather materials chemistry. Shelly said that their programmes and expertise in distance education will help to facilitate the development of this first-of-its-kind leather chemistry course. ‘We have all the ingredients of a great ‘team’ here and I am looking forward with great anticipation for new opportunities in the future’, Prof Shelly said.

The new mailing address for the Leather Research Institute and the Alca office is Box 45300, Texas Tech University, Lubbock TX 79409-5300. Professor Shelly and his staff at the Leather Research Institute can be reached at +1 806-742-7297 (voice) and +1 806-742-7299 (fax). Carol Adcock, the Alca executive secretary, can be reached at +1 806-742-7296 (voice) and +1 806-742-7298 (fax).