Regents talk construction, building acquisition

Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 8:32pm

Along with approving a vice president of research and authorizing a new multicultural center, the University’s Board of Regents also discussed construction projects and a building donation, as well as heard from Central Student Government at their meeting Thursday.

Construction projects

The regents approved the start of the construction and bidding process for The Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus Athletics South Competition and Performance Project, which is slated to be completed by Winter 2018.

The building will be approximately 280,000 square feet and cost $168 million dollars from  Athletic Department resources and donations.

It will house men’s and women’s track and field, cross country, lacrosse and women’s rowing and will include an indoor track for 2,000 spectators and an outdoor track for 500 as well as a lacrosse stadium.

Several schematic design renovations for North Campus buildings were also approved by the regents Thursday. Of the 28 buildings that comprise the North Campus Research Complex, five will be renovated — specifically Buildings 550, 30, 35, 36 and 60. The renovations will include the relocation and renovation of clinical pathology laboratories.

Tsoi/Kobus & Associates principal Jocelyn Frederick, the architect on the project, highlighted several aspects of the design process in a presentation to the regents.

“On the ground floor what we’ve done is allocated the high volume programs that require a lot of material movements,” Frederick said. “We’ve also created a separate specimen drop-off area to manage and streamline the movements and transfer of specimen as it leaves the medical center, arrives at NCRC and then makes its way to the labs.”

Frederick said a conscious effort was made to provide research and education space for residents and fellows on the second floor. She said the more important offices would be centrally located to promote operation facilities.

One such office, in a building utilized by the School of Nursing, will be nurse centers designed to reinforce communication among the supervisors and technicians on the floor.

“This space is used for their education as well as morning huddles and informal discussions,” Frederick said.

The NCRC was acquired from the Pfizer Corporation in 2009. It covers more than 2.1 million square feet and is now managed by the University of Michigan Health System.

Riverfront Property Donation

The Regents authorized the donation of a conference center to the University’s Flint campus, the most significant property donation in the school’s history.

The Riverfront Conference Center is a former 16-story Hyatt Regency Hotel, with 340,000 square feet in total. It contains a residence hall that has the capacity to house more than 500 students, as well as a banquet center.

In the action request presented to the Regents, Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the gift would have significant benefits to the University.

“The Riverfront Conference Center building will provide expanded academic programing possibilities,” Hegarty wrote in the request. “It will also allow for the consolidation of university housing services and will provide a wider variety of room options for students.”

While the property is a gift to the Flint campus, the University has agreed to lease the roof of the property for $1 million yearly over a ten-year term for cellular antennas.

Central Student Government report

LSA senior Cooper Charlton, Central Student Government president, addressed the regents Thursday on initiatives CSG participated in over the past semester and the assembly’s future goals.

Charlton said he was sorry to hear Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett was not interested in being considered for the full time position, adding that as a former varsity athlete he could vouch for the strong leadership Hackett had brought to the athletic department.

He also noted that CSG is playing an active role in the search for Hackett’s replacement.

“This past Tuesday, although students were busy studying, CSG hosted a student forum to seek input on the values and characteristics needed in our next athletic director,” Charlton said. “I wish the search committee the best of luck.”