Board of Regents to approve an array of projects

By Yardain Amron, Daily Staff Reporter
and Claire Bryan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 17, 2014

The University’s Board of Regents will convene Thursday afternoon in the Michigan Union’s Anderson Room to consider multiple construction projects, as well as the elimination of an academic program within the School of Kinesiology. Initiatives slated for the Art and Architecture Building, the Ross School of Business and the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, among others, are expected to receive approval.

Regents to approve Art and Architecture Building Renovations

The regents will vote to approve renovations of the Art and Architecture Building on North Campus, which houses the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the School of Art & Design. If approved, the renovations will consist of an addition to the original building, which was constructed in 1974, as well as minor renovations to the existing building.

The project will add new classrooms, studio spaces and faculty offices.

The project is estimated to cost $28 million, $12.5 million of which will come from a gift from real estate mogul A. Alfred Taubman, who donated $30 million in 1998 to the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, which now bears his name. In a separate agenda item, the regents will also vote to name the addition the A. Alfred Taubman Wing in his honor.

Taubman has also funded the A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library and the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute as well as support for an expansion of the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Pending approval by the regents, the University will appoint architecture firm Integrated Design Solutions and the Preston Scott Cohen firm as project designers.

Mobility Transformation Facility moves ahead

Initial schematic designs and bids for construction contracts of a Mobility Transformation Facility will also receive approval. The research facility — which received approval in the fall — will simulate automated and connected driving in everyday conditions.

For $6.5 million, the facility will get a four-lane, 1,000-foot straight asphalt road, merge lanes, a network of urban streets, a roundabout, traffic circle, a crushed-gravel road segment and security fencing around the entire site.

The project is a collaboration between the University’s College of Engineering, the Transportation Research Institute, the Office of Research, the University of Michigan Energy Institute and the State of Michigan Department of Transportation.

If approved, construction completion is expected to begin in the fall.

Physical Education programs to be discontinued

Administrators at the School of Kinesiology have requested the discontinuance of the Physical Education major and minor, as well as the Health Education minor, effective March 1.

“Nationwide, the number of students enrolled in undergraduate kinesiology majors continues to increase, but the number of students pursuing physical education degrees has greatly declined,” University Provost Martha Pollack and Ronald Zernicke, dean of the School of Kinesiology, wrote in a statement.

In turn, the department will focus on their “thriving” Health and Fitness Leadership major. All current Physical Education students will still be able to graduate and no tenured faculty will be released. Non-tenured faculty may be released based on enrollment and University policy.

A peer review committee, composed of various representatives from University colleges and nearby institutions of higher education, unanimously decided to ask for the major’s termination.

Rackham infrastructure improvements to be considered

The regents will also consider $2.4 million in infrastructure improvements for the Rackham Graduate School building.

The proposed improvements will repair 1,300 square feet of ceiling that is damaged in the main auditorium, rehabilitate the main entrance and pedestrian ramp and replace of the original 76-year-old copper roof.

The firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger and the University’s Department of Architecture, Engineering and Construction will work together to design the project, which will be funded entirely by investment proceeds.

The building was commissioned by then-University President Alexander Ruthven in 1935, when he asked the Rackham Fund to realize what he called "the heart of the University," according to their website. Revolutionary for its time, the building itself is known for its limestone exterior and inclusion of natural light, along with the copper roof, which was created specifically to act as an aesthetic bridge between the University and the adjacent residential area.

The project is slated for completion in fall 2015.

Regents to award construction contracts for Business School projects

Though the regents approved renovations to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Kresge Business Administration Library, demolition of the Computer and Executive Education Building last month, authorization to award construction contracts for the projects will be finalized Thursday.

Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote in a communication to the regents that the board will vote to approve “construction contracts for limited construction activity” to allow construction to be completed as early as summer 2016.

Temporary modular office units will be installed in the Lorch Hall courtyard to house Business School and William Davidson Institute staff during the construction process.

Additionally, internal renovations of the main building, including relocating cooling towers and rerouting utilities, will be completed in preparation for the main project.

This work will cost $7 million and is included in the $135 million overall cost of the project. Funding for this limited construction will be provided by gifts, including the record-breaking donation gifted by the school’s namesake in the fall.

Contracts to be awarded for Granger Laboratory renovations

While the regents approved schematic designs in July for the 220,000-gross-square-foot renovations for the Granger Library, they will now proceed to authorize bids and construction contracts.

The facility, which currently houses four engineering departments, was built in 1958. The lab will undergo $47 million in renovations to upgrade fire detection, alarm, emergency power systems, deep infrastructure, heating and ventilation. An additional 25,000 square feet of academic and instructional space will be added as well.

The state of Michigan will fund $30 million of the costs as part of the fiscal year 2011 Capital Outlay Request.

Children and Women’s Hospital to expand with new operating wing

The University will also seek approval for plans to expand into shell space on C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital’s fourth floor to create a new operating room.

The Hospital and Health Center will provide $4.5 million to build out an additional 800 square feet of space adjacent to a current operating room. The project will provide standard operating room capabilities as well as the ability to use the space for future pediatric cardiovascular procedures.

The funds will provide the room’s equipment and all the architectural, mechanical and electrical work. Architecture firm HKS will design the project and completion is expected by winter 2015.