The University Record, April 22, 2002

U-M officials break ground for medical school building

By Mary Beth Reilly, UMHS Public Relations,
and Laurel Thomas Gnagey

Omenn and Lichter stand together to break ground for the Biomedical Science Research Building. (Photo by Paul Jaronski, U-M Photo Services)
“We expect important discoveries,” declared Gilbert Omenn, executive vice president for medical affairs, as the vision of cross-disciplinary research in a state-of-the-art medical school building moved another step forward April 15. University officials broke ground for the new Biomedical Science Research Building (BSRB), a 470,000-square-foot structure that is being called the new gateway to the Medical Campus.

Before the official earth turning, Interim President B. Joseph White said of the project, “Three to four years ago, life sciences technology was just a dream, an aspiration, a hope—now [with the Life Sciences Institute and the BSRB] we really see a physical manifestation of that dream come true.” White and Omenn were joined at the podium by Allen Lichter, dean of the medical school and Todd Schliemann of Polshek Partnership Architects of New York.

The BSRB will house U-M Medical School faculty and scientists in a flexible environment with architecture designed to foster project collaboration and intellectual innovation. For example, space is being planned around scientific themes rather than using the traditional department model so that faculty working on similar projects will be encouraged by proximity to collaborate and innovate.

Both its focus on collaborative and multi-disciplinary research and its location on the Medical Campus will make the BSRB an important hub in the University’s development of a Life Sciences Initiative, Dean Lichter noted.

In the six-level building, approximately 263,000- square-feet will be designed for wet research laboratories, laboratory support spaces, principal investigator offices, interaction spaces and conference/auditorium facilities. Building occupation is scheduled for late 2005.

The building site is located across Huron Street from the U-M’s new Palmer Drive Development, and is bordered by Glen Avenue to the west, Ann Street to the north and Zina Pitcher Place to the east. It will be north and west of the Life Sciences Institute building currently under construction.