At its last meeting of the school year, the University’s Board of Regents will take another look at the possible construction of a parking garage on Wall Street, near the Kellogg Eye Center, north of the University Hospital.
The Regents approved construction of the Wall Street East Parking Structure in September 2008, only to cancel the plans in July 2009 due to the proposed Fuller Road Intermodal Station project with the city of Ann Arbor.
Now that the University has scrapped plans for the Fuller station due to funding complications, Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, is asking the board to reconsider the Wall Street plans.
Slottow requested in a communication to the regents that they approve the hiring of an architect to restart the project.
Slottow noted that the opening of the C. S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital has greatly increased the pressure for parking in the area. According to the communication, 300 “prime” parking places for employees were repurposed for use by patients and visitors.
“More employees are parking remotely and traveling by bus to work,” Slottow wrote. “On a typical day, we estimate that 2,500 employees are parking in remote lots and taking a bus or shuttle to the medical center. Additionally, there are about 1,500 employees utilizing alternative means of transportation, including riding the bus from home, ridesharing, or van pooling.”
The resurrected project will cost approximately $34 million and will add 500 parking spaces to the area. Slottow added that environmental sustainability is a focus for the project and the new structure will include charging stations for electric vehicles.
“We envision an architecturally-detailed facade with open space at either end of the structure that will contain park-like landscaping with trees and water features for storm water management which may also be used for irrigation and reducing storm runoff to the river,” Slottow wrote.
When the University proposed the Wall Street structure in 2008, residents living in Ann Arbor’s nearby Lower Town neighborhood expressed concerns about the structure’s construction. At the time, Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje asked the regents to look for alternatives to placing the parking structure in the area, which has high traffic.
“We would like you to work with us, to step back — it doesn’t have to be for a long time — and take a look,” Hieftje said. “Is there another way to get people into the Wall Street area except creating two new parking structures there, in what could become a very congested area?”
University hospitals to expand intensive care units
In a communication with the regents, Slottow and Ora Pescovitz, the executive vice president for medical affairs, wrote that the vacated space in the former C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital allows for expansion of the intensive care unit to meet growing demand.
“This project will renovate approximately 163,000 gross square feet for a new adult operating room suite of eight rooms, a new imaging suite, 95 general patient care beds, and 25 intensive care beds to serve primarily Neurosciences programs,” Slottow and Pescovitz wrote.
About 104,000 square feet will also be repurposed for use as office space in the new C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospitals. According to Slottow and Pescovitz, renovation work will primarily focus on architectural and utility upgrades to prepare the facility for its new purpose.
Slottow and Pescovitz wrote that the architectural firm Hobbs will design the renovation. The project is expected to cost approximately $163 million.
Library renovations continue
In a separate communication to the regents, Slottow requested that the regents approve the second phase of renovations to the Law Quadrangle, which are scheduled to focus on Hutchins Hall and the William W. Cook Legal Research Library, the Law School’s main library.
“The scope of this project focuses on the renovation and updating of the vacated spaces as well as the overall organization of the Law School, encompassing approximately 30,000 gross square footage of space,” Slottow wrote.
The library, originally constructed in 1931, is due to undergo a series of electrical and mechanical updates. Slottow also wrote that the approximately $7-million project will be completed in phases to avoid disruptions during the school year, and it is expected to be completed during the summer of 2013.
In another communication, Slottow requested the approval of a $55-million renovation to the A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library.
“By moving a large portion of less frequently used library collections off-site, the University is freeing up nearly two floors of the building for higher priority academic needs,” Slottow wrote. “The renovated building will house a smaller library collection and increased health sciences instructional space, including a clinical skills and simulation suite, and space for computing, study, and faculty and student services.”
The project will renovate approximately 137,000 square feet of the building focusing on electrical, mechanical and architectural work to prepare the library for academic use.
University to create new Master of Medical Science graduate program
Aside from construction and renovations, University Provost Philip Hanlon and Slottow also wrote a communication to the regents requesting their approval to create a master’s of Medical Science program.
“The purpose of the degree is to grant formal academic recognition by the Medical School to students who successfully complete and demonstrate competency in the first two years of the medical school curriculum, but are unable to complete the requirements for a Doctor of Medicine degree due to personal or administrative reasons,” Hanlon and Slottow wrote.
Hanlon and Slottow wrote that no student would be admitted to the Medical School for the sole purpose of obtaining the master’s of Medical Science degree. If approved, the Medical School plans to award the degree to two currently disenrolled students, and in the future, it would only consider students who apply for admission in the program within 12 months of disenrolling.
If approved by the regents, the degree will need further approval from the President’s Council of State Universities of Michigan before it can be instated.