The University Record, March 6, 2000

Regents’ Roundup

Editor’s Note: The Regents approved the following renovation projects at their February meeting.


By Wono Lee
News and Information Services

Elevators in Simpson Circle Parking Structure

The elevators in the Simpson Circle Parking Structure, in continuous operation since they were installed in 1963, will be replaced at an estimated cost of $700,000.

School of Public Health buildings

The School of Public Health buildings will undergo major renovation.

The School is comprised of two buildings: the Henry F. Vaughan Public Health Building (SPH I) built in 1942 and expanded in 1958, and the Thomas Francis Jr. Building (SPH II) constructed in 1971. The total gross square feet of the complex is 296,000.

“Within and across departments, researchers are tackling some of the world’s most critical public health issues,” noted Executive Vice President Robert Kasdin in recommending approval of the project. “The size of the faculty, staff and student population coupled with the School’s research program, has brought into focus the quantitative and qualitative shortcomings of the School’s physical facilities.

“Since SPH II was constructed, the student body has doubled and research has increased nearly threefold. Increasingly sophisticated technology and safety needs for laboratory research and teaching have levied requirements that are unable to be met in SPH I. Compounding the problem, SPH I has never been systematically upgraded. Consequently, the building infrastructure is outdated.

“Laboratory space is scattered throughout departments, contributing to inefficient use of resources and the SPH complex lacks common space for faculty interaction, an important need in an increasingly interdisciplinary environment.

“As part of this project, we propose to address the infrastructure needs of SPH I, modernize laboratory space, review and reorganize the location of laboratories and departments, and provide for common space needs.”

The project is estimated to cost $40 million.

The Regents authorized commissioning the firm of Centerbrook Architects and Planners from Centerbrook, Conn., working in association with HarleyEllis from Southfield, for the project’s design.

Steam tunnel replacement project

The 80-year-old steam tunnel located just south of the Central Heating Plant, which serves 60 percent of the Central Campus buildings and is at full capacity, will be replaced.

“Future load needs required by improvements and changes to the Central Campus buildings cannot be supported with the existing piping, and the size of the tunnel cannot accept new or larger piping,” Kasdin explained.

“The portion of this tunnel that is between the Central Power Plant and the School of Dentistry will be replaced and relocated, allowing increased capacity to the School of Dentistry and to the remainder of the existing tunnel line that serves other Central Campus buildings. This will adequately supply present needs and future growth and provide an efficient distribution system.

Other utilities near the tunnel will be improved, including the water, sewer and gas piping and the electrical duct bank.

The project is estimated to cost $11 million.

Medical Science Building II and Buhl Building

Phase II of the renovation project for the Medical Science Building II and the Buhl Center for Human Genetics Building, estimated to cost approximately $16 million, will upgrade 81,000 gross square feet, including 30,000 square feet of lab space in the Medical Science II and Buhl buildings. This will provide the Medical School with upgraded and consolidated instructional space, Kasdin said.

The project also will provide upgraded contemporary laboratory space and related support spaces like equipment rooms, temperature controlled environments and faculty offices. The related infrastructure work includes additional air handling capacity, an automatic fire suppression system and the replacement of the fire alarm system.

“Phase I and Phase II projects are part of a larger plan to upgrade instructional and research space as well as support program changes in the Medical Science II and Buhl buildings, constructed in 1969 and 1964 respectively,” Kasdin noted.

Phase I has achieved substantial completion and occupancy is expected in April.

Jickling, Lyman, Powell Associates Inc. of Troy was selected as the architect for Phase II.