The shovel hit the dirt on the construction site of the new Biomedical Science Research Building for the first time in a groundbreaking ceremony April 16. The BSRB is part of the Life Sciences Initiative started under former University President Lee Bollinger.

Paul Wong
Work on the Biomedical Science Research Building, located across from the Life Sciences Institute, began April 15. (BRANDON SEDLOFF/Daily)

“It was a wonderful day. The sun was shining and we take that as a wonderful sign of a bright future for the Medical School and for biomedical science on our campus,” Medical School Dean Allen Lichter said.

Though the building is not scheduled to be completed until Dec. 5, 2005, those involved with the project are already boasting its beauty and significance to the University.

Gil Omenn, executive vice president for medical affairs, said the building’s architecture alone – a futuristic glass mecca thought up by the Polshek and Partners Architects LLP located in New York – will be enough to make it stand out among the rest of campus.

“There is a great visual. It’s going to be a spectacular view as you come up Washtenaw (Avenue) up to the bend on to Huron (Street). There will be an undulating glass ribbon of offices with a very attractive research laboratory building to the north of the office ribbon,” Omenn said.

“It’ll be a landmark for the University, a signature building.

Design is not all the building will be known for, Lichter said, adding that the BSRB should also serve as a unifying structure for the University.

“It forms the bridge between the Medical School and the Life Sciences Institute and the bridge between the Medical Campus and the Central Campus,” Lichter said. “It’s a very exciting project and we are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

At 470,000 gross square feet, the building, which will cost more than $22 million and hold 240 labs and 130 offices, will be twice the size of the LSI complex located across the street.

The new complex will primarily be used by Medical School faculty and students working in fields, including neuroscience, stem cell, gerontology, aging and cardiovascular research.

The BSRB is the next-to-last element of the Life Sciences Initiative to be launched.

Though many aspects of the Initiative have been underway for years, construction for a North Campus biomedical engineering building has not begun and its groundbreaking date has not been set.

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