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As Nebraska Innovation Campus was preparing to open a little more than three years ago, university and research park officials asked lawmakers and regents for patience. Speaking to the Board of Regents in September 2014, then-Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the park’s biggest obstacle would be showing an activity level capable of sparking excitement from potential partners. “You want people to believe there is actually something there,” Perlman said at the time. “It’s hard to attract people to go out there to be pioneers when they would be isolated.” Innovation Campus, it seems, has found that spark and begun stoking it into a fire. Hundreds of students take classes at the Food Innovation Center each week, while the first amenity on campus -- The Mill Coffee and Bistro -- has become a destination for meetings and study sessions, and a construction crane towers over what campus officials are describing as a modern office building unlike any other in Lincoln set to open later this year. “It’s come together much faster than what we anticipated,” said Dan Duncan, executive director of Nebraska Innovation Campus. Achieving what Duncan calls "critical mass" has earned Innovation Campus national recognition. Last fall, Innovation Campus was recognized as the "Emerging Research Park" by the Association of University Research Parks for its success attracting and creating new businesses -- as well as jobs.