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Updated 10:00 AM Sept. 25, 2006
 

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New eight-story tower will open in 2010
adjacent to Kellogg Eye Center

The U-M Health System broke ground Sept. 19 on a $121 million, 222,000-square-foot building that will more than double its capacity for eye care, research and education and will give scientists more space to search for a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
An expansion of the Kellogg Eye Center gets under way with a ceremonial turning of the shovels. Douglas Strong, director and chief executive officer of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers; Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs and chief executive officer of the U-M Health System; Olivia Maynard, chair of the Board of Regents; Delores and William Brehm, donors whose gift established the Brehm Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research and Analysis; Rebecca McGowan, regent and past president of the board; Paul Lichter, the F. Bruce Fralick Professor of Ophthalmology and chair and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences; and Mary Sue Coleman, president, participated in the Sept. 19 groundbreaking. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

The new eight-floor building, scheduled to open in 2010 on Wall Street in Ann Arbor, will house an expansion of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center's clinics and laboratories, along with two floors of research facilities focused on diabetes. It will be connected to the current eye center tower, built in 1985.

"With our new facility, we will intensify our focus on understanding and treating debilitating eye diseases," President Mary Sue Coleman said at a ceremony on the future site of the building.

Saying that the World Health Organization predicts 350 million diabetics by 2025, Coleman added, "That is a siren call for a cure. And that is why today is so important. The expansion of the Kellogg Eye Center and the establishment of the Brehm Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research and Analysis will further the University's commitment to novel research and quality patient care."

"Eye disease and diabetes are two pressing issues for our society, and as the baby boom generation grows older, they will become even more so," said Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs and UMHS chief executive officer. "This building, as a crucial part of our master plan and located just across the river from our main medical campus, will allow us to grow our efforts in both disciplines."
Dr. Robert Kelch, executive vice president for medical affairs and chief executive officer of the U-M Health System; Perry Schechtman, chief department administrator of ophthalmology and visual sciences; and Douglas Strong, director and chief executive officer of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, take a look at a model of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center expansion. The $121 million, 222,000-square-foot building connected to the current facility will more than double the center's clinic and laboratory space. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Designed by TSA of Massachusetts, the Cambridge-based architecture, planning and design firm, the building will be modern in design while incorporating features that will create a warm, welcoming environment.

Large windows and a full wall of glass panels on the building's facade will allow natural light to fill the clinics and common space—of particular benefit to patients whose vision is impaired. Clinics will have space for patient education and comfortable waiting areas designed to aid patient flow. Research areas will feature open laboratories to encourage collaboration and provide flexibility as research projects grow. The building also will have a strong connection to the city of Ann Arbor's nearby Riverside Park, both visually and physically.

"When the new W.K. Kellogg Eye Center opened in 1985, we were thrilled at the possibilities that could arise from bringing together the department's clinicians and researchers under one roof, said Dr. Paul Lichter, Kellogg director and chair of ophthalmology and visual sciences. "That collaboration has yielded significant advances in eye care and vision research.

"Now as we anticipate a state-of-the-art facility for research, education and patient care, we will have new technologies, new laboratories and new opportunities to accelerate the pace of research toward sight-saving treatments for our patients."

Two upper floors of the expansion will house advanced laboratories for Type 1 diabetes research, as well as cutting-edge facilities for communication and data sharing among diabetes researchers throughout U-M and beyond. Made possible by part of the $44 million gift given to the Medical School by Delores and William Brehm in 2004, the floors also will house the offices of the Brehm Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research and Analysis.

"Dee and I are very pleased with the design for the Kellogg expansion and the Brehm Center laboratories," said William Brehm, whose wife, Delores (Dee), said she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes 57 years ago. "This is a great day. There has been fine collaboration among the architects, administrators and scientists to produce a design that clearly signals our intentions—a design that emphasizes not only world-class laboratory space, but also the community elements that ultimately will facilitate collaboration among the Michigan scientists and their colleagues at other fine research facilities in the United States and overseas. This collaboration is an essential ingredient in our objective of accelerating the search for a cure for Type 1 diabetes."

A large portion—$30 million—of the Brehms' gift is helping to make construction possible, along with funds from UMHS reserves and from other donors. The facility also may help U-M vision and diabetes researchers collaborate on studies of eye-related complications of diabetes, notably diabetic retinopathy.

More information on the project is available at www.kellogg.umich.edu/expansion.

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