Construction, Health Care, and Higher Education

MSU 'tops off' downtown research center

November 26, 2015
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MSU College of Human Medicine Grand Rapids Research Center topping off ceremony
Construction workers raise the final steel beam — with an evergreen tree and Spartan and American flags — atop the MSU College of Human Medicine Grand Rapids Research Center during a "topping off" ceremony. Courtesy MSU

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine recently held a “topping off” ceremony to celebrate a milestone in the construction of its six-story research center downtown and shared data on the project.

Ceremony

Researchers and construction workers gathered last Thursday at the MSU College of Human Medicine Grand Rapids Research Center to watch as the last steel beam was raised, bearing an American flag to represent patriotism, an evergreen tree as a symbol of good luck and prosperity and an MSU Spartan flag.

During the celebration at 400 Monroe Ave. NW, the joint team of Lansing-based Clark Construction Company and Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction were also commended for their safety record in constructing the facility.

Aron Sousa, interim dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine, congratulated the Clark-Rockford construction team for completing the past 25 weeks without incident or injury.

“Thank you for your part in constructing this state-of-the-art research center that will house some of the top scientists in the fields of autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, pediatric cancer and women’s health research,” Sousa said. “You can be proud to be part of this great medical research evolution in our city.”

Construction impact

When the Clark-Rockford construction team broke ground on the $88.1 million, 162,800-square-foot research center this June, the project was anticipated to increase employment by nearly 728 job years, provide $55 million in wages and have an economic impact of more than $95 million, according to an Anderson Economic Group study.

Mike VanGessel, CEO of Rockford Construction, said the project has had an immediate impact on the local economy by “bringing new long-term jobs that allows us to look to a future where we can build projects to meet additional needs.”

Sam Clark, president of Clark Construction Company, thanked MSU and its donors for their leadership in making the project happen in Michigan.

“The economic benefits are significant, but pale in comparison to the improvements in human health that will result from the research done in this building,” Clark said.

Project details

The research center’s project delivery team also consists of SmithGroupJJR, as the engineer and architect of record, Ellenzweig, for laboratory planning and architectural design, Kramer Management Group and MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities.

When the facility is opened in late 2017, it will support 260 members of the MSU College of Human Medicine’s research teams, five core labs and research program spaces.

The center is anticipated to have an economic impact of about $28 million each year, supporting more than 400 jobs, including as many as 44 principal investigators, once it is running at full capacity.

Construction data

MSU shared a number of construction numbers as part of the topping off ceremony.

  • 25 weeks, or more than 11,350 hours, without incident or injury
  • The average number of workers on site each day is 81 people, with a peak of 146 workers each day, resulting in more than 250,500 total worker hours
  • About 1,400 tons of structural steel, equal to 2.8 million pounds, and at least 5,260 cubic yards of concrete have been used to build the infrastructure
  • The facility uses 800,000 linear feet of electrical wiring, which is equal to 151.5 miles of wiring, and nearly 550,000 linear feet of data cabling, equal to 104.2 miles
  • The center has 48,300 linear feet, or 9 miles, of plumbing piping and about 22,569 linear feet, or 4.27 miles, of fire-protection piping

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