Construction on the long-awaited Biological Science Building at the University of Michigan will finally begin after the Board of Regents voted to accept the construction bids during Thursday’s meeting at the Dearborn campus.
The 300,000 sq. ft. facility will house a number of major research departments, including the the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. The Anthropology, Natural History, Paleontology and Zoology museums will be moving into the new facility as well.
One major goal of the building is to increase the research space for the university, building new space for state-0f-the-art laboratories. It will be replacing the 99-year-old Kraus Natural Science Building and the slightly younger Ruthven Exhibit Building, where the Museum of Natural History currently resides. The existing spaces are outmoded and outdated, inappropriate and inadequate for the expectations of a modern research facility. UM Chief Financial Officer, Tim Slottow, explained in a statement to the Regents, that “Kraus, built in 1915, that has reached its limit in terms of ability to allow contemporary research and the number of researchers it can support.” It was also his understanding that the new facility would be built in accordance to “an open plan to allow for much greater collaboration than what can be achieved in the existing buildings, increased flexibility, space utilization and better management.”
Along those lines, the building will also connect to the existing Life Sciences Institute Building in an effort to facilitate the sharing of its dock and vivarium functionality. What is a vivarium? A vivarium is a controlled space where plants or animals are kept grown for research and observation purposes.
The project is expected to provide an average of 256 on-site construction jobs and cost $261MM.