Construction began for a new nexus of innovation on June 18, 2015, with the groundbreaking of the new MSU Grand Rapids Research Center. “The most important concept of the new research center is it is situated in an urban area, at the corner of the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids,” Elizabeth Lawrence, senior associate dean for finance, planning, and administration, said.
Lawrence said the center is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
When completed, the center will be 162,800-square-feet and six stories high, with a seventh floor penthouse, according to a press release about the center by the College of Human Medicine.
The same press release said the budget for the project is $88.1 million, and funding will be provided through gifts, the MSU general fund and tax exempt financing.
Research will focus on such topics as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, transplantation, cancer, genetics, and woman’s health and reproductive medicine, Lawrence said.
As all the other research centers in the area are full, Lawrence said this new research center will be associated with MSU’s College of Human Medicine, as will many of its scientists, though the center is open to other MSU researchers as well.
The research center will support 260 members of Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s scientific research teams at capacity, including up to 44 principal investigators and their labs, according to the press release.
“Generally on campus we don’t build a building for a specific college, but for campus as a whole,” Lawrence said, citing this as a reason the center is in Grand Rapids.
“We’re building on our strengths and relationships in the region”, Lawrence said. "That encourages others who have similar interests and want to work together to come to the area.”
Lawrence said Grand Rapids was also chosen because the College of Human medicine opened a center there in 2010, and many of the scientists are already located in the area.
“It made sense to continue the good work that’s already being done,” Lawrence said, adding they have partnerships with other medical institutions in the region.
Aside from the medical work being done, Lawrence said the center will create a positive economic impact for the community by generating more than 400 jobs, 28 million dollars a year, and the construction process alone will provide another 720 jobs.
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