The University Record, December 17, 2001

New building approved for the Ford School of Public Policy

By Diane Brown, Facilities and Operations, and
Bernie DeGroat, News and Information Services

The Board of Regents approved plans to proceed with a new building project for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. In addition, they approved the appointment of Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York City as the building architect.

The new building will house the Ford School, currently located on the fourth floor of Lorch Hall, along with public spaces for conferences and lectureships, classrooms, a library, research centers, a computer laboratory and offices for additional faculty.

“I am very pleased and honored by the actions the Regents are taking to support the Ford School of Public Policy,” President Gerald R. Ford said. “The Ford School is dedicated to the training of future leaders in public service and public policy.

“I commend the leadership of Dean Rebecca Blank and President Lee Bollinger in bringing the Ford School, in an effective partnership with the University of Michigan, to this important milestone.”

President Bollinger said, “The study of public policy creates a critical nexus with the outside world. As with our schools of business, law and engineering, the School of Public Policy is important intellectually since it keeps us in touch with real-world problems and opportunities, and it provides an important outside perspective for our study.

“A strong school of public policy—anchored with the name of distinguished alumnus Gerald R. Ford—provides a stage for outstanding scholars and policy-makers from around the world. Our focus on public policy is especially appropriate for the University, a public, comprehensive research university where scholars can pursue exciting interdisciplinary opportunities in a wide array of disciplines.”

“The Ford School of Public Policy is committed to preparing our students to serve the public interest and to increase understanding of public issues both within and outside the university,” Dean Blank said. “The Ford School has been expanding for several years. We need the sort of presence and identity on campus that a new building will provide and the office and classroom space to accommodate our growing program.”

Initial discussions resulted in a building plan of approximately 80,000 square feet at an estimated cost of $32 million. A proposed location is at the southern entrance of the Central Campus on the corner of State and Hill streets.

Robert A. M. Stern Architects has designed many new university and professional school buildings, including the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Law School, the Spangler Campus Center at the Harvard Business School, the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business Management at Rice University.

“I see this building as the culmination of the plans that led to our creation as a school in the mid-1990s and our naming two years ago,” Blank said.

The Ford School evolved out of the Institute of Public Policy Studies in 1995. In November 1999, the Regents named the School in honor of former President Ford, a 1935 U-M graduate. Currently, 28 faculty have full or shared appointments with the Ford School.