“I feel like I’m on a mountaintop,” Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D, told D CEO Healthcare with a smile. Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, was greeting friends inside the center’s gleaming new Brain Performance Institute building off Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.
There, 220 people had gathered for a private event Thursday, Oct. 12, to help Chapman mark the grand opening of the $33 million, 62,000-square-foot facility. It’s the headquarters of what’s said to be the world’s first institute focused on scientifically-based programs aimed at increasing brain performance, enhancing brain resilience, and inciting brain regeneration to the general public.
According to Larry Speck, lead architect for the Dallas-based, full-service architecture/engineering firm Page, which designed the BPI building, the elliptical, three-story, glass structure features communal as well as private areas and natural light throughout. Sun shades not only provide shade but are sound-dampening, and all office desks are standing desks to promote better brain functioning.
While the private, Oct. 12 event included a reception and dinner, as well as appearances by former Dallas Cowboys player Daryl Johnston and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, Chapman had led a “Reimagined Ribbon-Cutting” for the new BPI building earlier in the day. As guests including Former First Lady Laura Bush and UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson looked on, the ceremony portrayed the lighting of two glass neurons igniting across a simulated brain synapse.
The glass neurons were designed by artist David Gappa, who also created an “educational synapse glass ceiling” in one of the building’s rooms that’s shaped like an ellipse, representing the frontal lobe of the brain.
Center for BrainHealth officials said the “ribbon-cutting” marked not only the opening of the BPI building, but “the official launch of a nationwide and globally relevant” brain performance movement.
“This isn’t just about preventing dementia, although that’s important to so many. It’s about improving brain performance and health in everyone right now,” Leanne Young, Ph.D, the BPI executive director, said in a news release.
“The Institute,” Young continued, “will help young people focus in school, retrain the minds of those affected by military experiences or sports injuries, strengthen mental acuity among corporate leadership, and empower each … of us to take charge of our own brains.”
The Brain Performance Institute will hold a public grand opening on Thursday, Oct. 19. There will be free programs and events throughout the day, plus a ticketed lecture in the evening.