MSUToday
Published: April 12, 2002

NEW BUILDING, NEW ERA OF SCIENCE AT MICHIGAN STATE

Contact: Robert J. Huggett at (517) 355-0306 or George Leroi at (517) 355-4473 or Tom Oswald at (517) 355-2281 or oswald@msu.edu

4/12/2002

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Following in the tradition of scientists who have discovered cancer treatments, made milk safer to drink, and found ways of making crops more resistant to cold, researchers at Michigan State University today enter a new era of scientific advancement with the opening of the new Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building.

With its formal dedication, the new facility instantly becomes the heart of the university's science enterprise, a complex that includes the Chemistry and Biochemistry buildings, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the Plant Biology Building and the National Center for Food Safety and Toxicology.

"This facility creates an integrated complex of buildings that enhances our deep commitment to interdisciplinary research," said Robert J. Huggett, MSU vice president for research and graduate studies.

"In building the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building and establishing a genuine science campus in East Lansing," said MSU President Peter McPherson, "we are the architects of basic science research for the 21st century at Michigan State University."

"This fulfills a long-held dream of MSU's basic science community," said George E. Leroi, dean of the MSU College of Natural Science. "It provides an opportunity to bring together scholars from varied disciplines in superb facilities and a synergistic atmosphere to tackle problems of scientific importance."

Standing six stories tall and housing more than 200,000 net square feet of space, the building is home to MSU's departments of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Physics and Astronomy, and Physiology.

It also houses many MSU inter-disciplinary centers and projects, including the newly founded Chronic Disease Initiative.

"Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer - these are all components of the Chronic Disease Initiative," said William Spielman, chairperson of the Department of Physiology. "To be successful in this initiative, we have to be able to cross departmental and college borders, and this building will facilitate that movement."

Another advantage to sharing facilities is cost savings. Significant savings will occur by the sharing of common support facilities such as chemical and equipment storage, instrument and machine shops, library resources and animal care facilities.

In addition to the laboratories and libraries, the building also is equipped with lecture halls that are friendly to both student and teacher. Three main lecture halls have seating capacities of 300, 175 and 65. Each seat is equipped with outlets for laptop computers.

Located on the first floor of the building will be a remote observing facility for the soon-to-be-completed SOuthern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope. MSU is one of several partners building the telescope in the mountains of Chile. Once completed, it will provide outstanding optical and infrared images of our galaxy and beyond.

MSU administrators also expect that the new building will attract the best and brightest faculty and students.

"It should enable us to recruit the finest faculty, research associates and graduate students possible," said Jerry Dodgson, chairperson of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.

Robert Wiseman, a newly appointed associate professor in the departments of Physiology and Radiology, said it was the new facility that drew him to MSU.

"It's like nothing else in the country that I've seen," he said. "No other state seems to back science like Michigan, as is exemplified by this building. There's going to be some new and exciting science done here."

Total cost of the building is approximately $93 million, with state funds picking up three-quarters of the cost. A number of private donations were made as well, including:

  • $5 million from the MSU Foundation
  • 2.5 million from the Ford Motor Co. Fund
  • 1 million from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
  • $1 million from entrepreneur and MSU alumnus Harley N. Hotchkiss
  • $250,000 from the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation

THE FACTS
BIOMEDICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES BUILDING
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

Science education that will leave its mark on everyone from kindergarteners to Ph.D.'s, and research with the potential to change the world takes a giant step forward with the opening of the new Michigan State University Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building.

The building brings together scientists and their students who, until now, had been scattered throughout the MSU campus. This meeting of the minds will serve to bring scientific collaboration to new levels, taking research and education to undiscovered boundaries.

With its futuristic laboratories, libraries and classrooms, the BPS becomes the heart of Michigan State's science and research center.

THE FACTS:

Containing more than 200,000 net square feet of space, the BPS is one the largest academic buildings on the MSU campus. Built in a unique H-shape, the building consists of six laboratory stories and four office stories

The building is located on Shaw Lane, between Farm Lane and Bogue Street. It's connected, via both underground and aboveground tunnels, to the Chemistry Building and Biochemistry Building. It also has proximity to MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the Plant Biology Building and the National Center for Food Safety and Toxicology.

The building's occupants include the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Physiology, and Microbiology. It also will house faculty affiliated with such units as the Center for Microbial Ecology, the Center for Fundamental Materials Research and the Chronic Disease Initiative.

In addition to teaching and research laboratories, libraries, office space and conference rooms, the building holds three lecture rooms with seating capacities of 300, 175 and 65. Each seat is equipped with outlets for laptop computers.

The building's roof contains an astronomy observation deck, complete with telescope hook-ups and a deck for social functions.

The building is environmentally sound, equipped with the latest advancements in heating, cooling, and ventilation. Each laboratory is equipped with its own independent ventilation system

THE DATES:

The Michigan Legislature approved initial funding for the building in December of 1996. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Feb. 10, 1999. Faculty and staff began moving into the building March 4, 2002. The official grand opening of the building is April 12, 2002.

THE IMPACT:

The building, housing a diverse group of researchers, will move scientific collaboration to new levels. By housing five departments that are critical to MSU's research mission in three connected buildings, there will be increased opportunities for research and teaching that cross departmental and college boundaries.

By improving the quality and quantity of laboratory, classroom, office and library space, the university will increase opportunities to attract top-notch faculty and students, as well as grant opportunities.

Significant cost-savings will occur by the sharing of common support facilities such as chemical and equipment storage, instrumentation and shops, library resources and animal care facilities.

The larger and more modern classrooms, conference rooms and laboratories will allow greater opportunities for conferences, symposia, workshops and other events that will share scientific knowledge.

Much of the building's influence will go beyond the campus borders. For example, a remote site that will download images from the Chile-based SOuthern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope will then share those images with K-12 students throughout Michigan.

THE PRICE:

Total cost of the building is approximately $93 million, with state funds picking up the majority of the cost. A number of private donations were made as well, including:

  • $5 million from the MSU Foundation
  • $2.5 million from the Ford Motor Co. Fund
  • $1 million from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
  • $1 million from entrepreneur and MSU alumnus Harley N. Hotchkiss
  • $250,000 from the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation