New era of medical education begins with groundbreaking for Secchia Center
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A new era of medical education began today as construction of the Secchia Center, which will serve as the west Michigan home of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, got under way in downtown Grand Rapids.
The facility is named in honor of Ambassador Peter F. Secchia, an MSU alumnus, long-time supporter of the university and former U.S. ambassador to Italy (1989 to 1993) who provided the lead gift for the medical education building.
The $90 million, seven-story, 180,000-square-foot facility will include teaching laboratories, classrooms, offices and student areas. It will be located in downtown Grand Rapids, at the base of Michigan Street hill at Division Avenue, across from the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said the facility will be a “signature” building for Grand Rapids and the west Michigan community.
“From the outside, the design fits the plans and visions of the region,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “But it will also be signature in terms of what is inside too, with state-of-the-art instructional technologies and a community, health and education partnership that is truly unique to medical education.”
“I am pleased with how this building embodies the way in which we value community,” said Marsha Rappley, dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine. “It captures the traditions and values of the past, as well as the excitement and opportunity of the future.
This fall, MSU College of Human Medicine second-year students will begin studies in a leased facility in Grand Rapids. The college plans to enroll its inaugural class of 100 first-year students in Grand Rapids in 2010, when the new facility opens. Once the program is at full capacity, enrollment in Grand Rapids will be approximately 400 students.
In addition to providing education to the next generation of physicians, the college’s presence in Grand Rapids also will focus much of its attention on biomedical research. Working with its partners, MSU faculty and students will conduct research in five “clusters”: cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and neurobiology.
One of the unique aspects of the college’s presence in Grand Rapids is the entire project is funded through private – not state or federal – dollars.
Spectrum Health contributed $55 million, which includes principal and interest payments on the Secchia Center medical education building for 25 years. Private donations will cover the remaining building costs for the Secchia Center.
To date, $37.4 million has been raised through a joint fundraising initiative by MSU and Grand Action, of Grand Rapids. This includes first naming gifts of $20 million donated by area business leaders, which includes a lead $10 million gift from alumnus Ambassador Peter F. Secchia.
“It was the great commitment of a number of people and organizations that enabled us to make this bold move,” Simon said. “We have work to do, but we are well on our way thanks to the commitments of our partners.”
“We have established partnerships in Grand Rapids that enable the college to make significant contributions to health and medical education in the community, and to benefit from its superb health and research institutions,” Rappley said.
A number of west Michigan partners have joined MSU in this endeavor, including Spectrum Health, Saint Mary’s Health Care, the Van Andel Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Grand Action, a not-for-profit organization that works to identify and support downtown Grand Rapids building and revitalization projects, and The Right Place, a regional nonprofit economic development organization that promotes economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and technology in Greater Grand Rapids.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.