Plans for the Undergraduate Science Instruction Center were unveiled and unanimously approved by the University Board of Regents at their monthly meeting on April 18.
The estimated cost of the USIC is $61 million, and part of the funding will come from the sale of University land to Pfizer for $17 million.
The USIC will be located between the Power Center for the Performing Arts and the Life Sciences Institute on the corner of Palmer Drive and Zina Pitcher Place.
The building will include offices for free programs, laboratories, a life sciences library, wet life laboratories, a small animal facility and computer labs.
One of the main goals of the project is to develop an interdisciplinary and community atmosphere.
“In the spirit of the Life Sciences building, this brings multiple disciplines together,” building architect Victor Cardona said.
The plans include a four-story, L-shaped “generic loft”-style brick building with outdoor areas for students and faculty to interact, architect Bob Venturi told the regents at the meeting.
The building is meant to reflect the architectural style of Albert Khan, who designed several other University buildings, including Angell Hall, Hill Auditorium and the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library.
In order to make the environment more conducive for student interaction, the architects designed a series of incidental seating places, including lounges and subtle outdoor meeting spots, similar to the raised patches of grass in front of the David Dennison Building.
The regents also approved a 4.95 percent increase in residence hall fees for next year and changes to the University’s policy for granting in-state tuition status.
Residence hall fees for a double room will increase by nearly $300 to $6,366. Single rooms will increase to $7,580. The increased costs will be used to upgrade fire protection systems in several residence halls and to pay for a significant increase in internet access and use by students living in residence halls.
New rules for in-state status hope to clarify the existing policy and make it easier for students to claim in-state tuition who move with parents due to employment reasons.
Another main focus of the regents’ attention was hospital finance, which the regents expressed much concern over at last month’s meeting.
Vice President for Medical Affairs Gill Omenn discussed the hospital’s financial health compared to other universities, but the discussion soon turned to how to keep the system strong in the future.
“We need to make plans so five years from now we aren’t sitting here with huge debts,” Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R-Ann Arbor) said. “We want to see the future as well as the past.”
Chief Financial Officer Robert Kasdin warned that discussion over the financial shape of the health system should not indicate that the system is in danger.
“We are having this discussion not because the sky is falling but because we want to be ahead of the curve,” Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) said. “We just want to move forward from this position of strength to maintain this edge.”
Regents questioned the further development of medical services, which did not earn the hospital’s additional revenue and urged Omenn to look at services such as the cardiovascular and cancer centers as ways to maintain the gap between income and expenditures.
Several of the vacant seats in the administration were also filled yesterday. Daniel Sharphorn and Gloria Hage, both attorneys in the General Counsel’s Office, were appointed to the position of Deputy General Counsel. The position was previously held by Liz Barry, who is now the managing director of the Life Sciences Institute.
The position of interim Chief Financial Officer will be filled by Timothy Slottow, who has been involved in University finance since 1998. He is taking over the position currently held by Kasdin, who will be starting a new job at Columbia University this spring.