How to Take Down a Building: Health Sciences Master Planning
| Oct 9, 2013 9:00 AM
The transformation of the Health Sciences campus over the past decade has been nothing short of remarkable.
Over the last ten years, the Health Sciences campus has erected nearly two million square feet of new space: The new West Pavilion at the University Hospital, Huntsman Cancer Institute and Huntsman Cancer Hospital, Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building, the Annette Poulson Cumming Building (housing the College of Nursing), University Neuropsychiatric Institute’s addition, the new Orthopaedic Center, the new L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute, and soon the Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences building just to name a few. Additionally, we have acquired nearly 400,000 square feet of additional space in Research Park—the Williams Building and the 383 Colorow Building.
With facilities like this, it’s not surprising that Best Medical Degrees recently ranked us the 14th most beautiful medical school in the U.S.
While the era of annual new building construction may have passed, the current reality is that some of our aging buildings may need to be replaced. As such, we have a unique opportunity that comes along once every 40 or 50 years to plan for the future of our institution.
Most pressing is the plan for Building 521, the main School of Medicine building. Originally built in 1965, this building is home to the administrative offices of most of the departments in the School of Medicine, many clinics, some inpatient care, and over 140,000 square feet of research laboratories. At over 600,000 gross square feet, replacing 521 is one of our most pressing concerns—each year this building is in use means costly repairs and unpredictable consequences of failing systems. But Building 521 is not the only issue on our minds.
Some of our research buildings, including the Huntsman Cancer Institute, are already exceeding capacity. The College of Health is sorely in need of new physical space. With our new School of Dentistry, our planned programs in oral health and related research have significant space implications. And then of course, there are the perennial challenges of parking, transportation, and way-finding (or in my case, way-losing).
Throughout October, we will launch an update and refreshment of the Health Sciences Campus Master Plan at our Town Hall Meetings and over the next nine months will be looking to get input from many of our constituencies. While there is no actual evidence that growth hurts, some of the growing pains that we may experience may not be as easily relieved through massage, heat, and a couple aspirin. Your input may be the most helpful medicine, so I thank you in advance and invite you to join us at the Town Hall Meetings this month.
While the challenges appear great, the opportunities appear even greater.
We welcome your input, suggestions, and thoughts about how we can best manage the first step in this necessary but unique opportunity. Please leave your thoughts below in the comments section.
Learn more about the history of Building 521.
Author: Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
About the Author: Dr. Vivian S. Lee is the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Utah, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. Read her full bio herecomments powered by Disqus