At this month’s meeting of the University’s Board of Regents the Regents approved the construction of the Wall Street East parking structure. The structure — which will be located in place of a parking lot near the medical campus and Kellogg Eye Center — is estimated to cost $34 million.
The project was initially brought to the Board for approval in 2008 but it was canceled in 2009 along with the University’s involvement in the Fuller Road Intermodal Station project, which would have also resulted in the building of the Wall Street structure. However, due to funding disagreements between the City of Ann Arbor and the University, the Fuller Road Station construction is currently paused.
Now, to accommodate increasing patient, faculty and staff parking, the project has been re-instituted and will hold 500 parking spots.
Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said because the completion of the new C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, more parking is in demand.
“We currently are in the process to quickly construct a deck that is similar in size and scope to the deck that we approved in ‘08,” Slottow said.
The Regents also approved Walker Parking Consultants and the Stecker Labau Arneill McManus Collaborative architectural firm to design the structure. The construction schedule will be proposed when the schematic design is presented to the board.
Repurposing of old children’s hospital space approved
The meeting also addressed the repurposing of the space that C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital occupied until its relocation this winter. The Regents approved the plan to build more adult inpatient rooms and office space where the Children’s Hospital once was.
Ora Pescovitz, the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs, said the construction will increase resources used to hold and treat patients at the hospital.
“There’s continuing demand for our hospital facilities,” Pescovitz said. “This renovation will enable us to largely repurpose this space, primarily for neuroscientists. It will enable us to increase operating rooms, ICUs and also for personnel.”
The renovations, which will include about 163,000 square feet set aside for the neuroscience department and about 104,000 square feet of office space, is estimated to cost $163 million.
Within the neuroscience space there will be a new operating room suite, new imaging facilities and 120 new beds — 25 of which will be intensive care unit beds.
The Regents approved Hobbs and Black as the architectural firm for the project, which will now commence designing the space. The renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, according to a University press release.
Library renovations to commence
Two library spaces were also approved for renovation by the Regents.
The A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library will be renovated and converted to allow for more instruction space and “collaborative learning.” The library’s book and journal collection will be moved to accommodate the renovation.
In the 137,000-square-foot space a clinical simulation area will be expanded and a computing site will be created. The project is estimated to cost $55 million.
Jane Blumenthal, director of the Taubman Health Sciences Library, said in a University press release that the conversion will help her staff work with health professionals.
“Physical books and journals are less important than they once were, though the information they contain and the ability of librarians to bring knowledge solutions to bear on academic, clinical and research goals remains invaluable,” Blumenthal said in a University press release.
The renovation of Hutchins Hall and the William W. Cook Legal Research Library within the Law School was also approved.
The 30,000-square-foot renovation will update the space and is estimated to cost about $7 million.
New degree offered from Medical School
The Regents voted to approve a new Master of Medical Science degree program within the Medical School.
The degree will be awarded to medical students who complete the first two years of medical school but are unable to finish the Doctor of Medicine degree.
University Provost Philip Hanlon said the degree will not be offered upon admission to medical school.
“No individuals will be granted admission to Medical School with the sole intent of obtaining the Master of Medical Science degree,” Hanlon said.
In a communication to the Regents, Hanlon and Pescovitz wrote that the degree will offer recognition of the pre-clinical work done by the students.
“Moreover, formal recognition of their education and academic achievement may be useful for future educational or employment purposes,” Hanlon and Pescovitz wrote.
Associate VP of research sponsored programs and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, Dearborn approved
Two appointments of new positions at the University were also decided at the meeting.
Stephen Forrest, the University’s vice president for research, recommended Daryl Weinert, executive director of the University’s Business Engagement Center, for the administrative position of associate vice president for research-sponsored programs.
Weinert — a 1986 University alum — started working for the College of Engineering in 1999 as the director of corporate relations. He assumed his current role at the Business Engagement Center in 2007.
Forrest said the vice president for research-sponsored programs will help maintain the “health of our research enterprise.”
“Daryl Weinert is a great choice for this job,” Forrest said.
Daniel Little, chancellor of the Dearborn campus, recommended Anthony England — professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences and electrical engineering and computer science at the the Ann Arbor campus — to be the interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Dearborn campus.
England, who received his Ph.D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a former NASA astronaut. His appointment to associate vice president for research-sponsored programs will last until June 30, 2014.