Emory Report

November 30, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 13

After a lull, major construction for Emory College and Health Sciences set to take off next year

The campus master plan was unveiled last spring, and Emory administrators have wasted little time in going forward with new building construction. In the short term some eight major buildings with an approximate cost of $243 million will be planned and built, utility lines will be laid and re-laid to make room for construction, and smaller but equally important projects will dot the campus landscape.

"I am well aware that my promise in 1995, in my inaugural address, that building would taper off, has now been rendered null and void," President Bill Chace said, laughing. More seriously, he added, "I've come to understand that the things we have to do to bring Emory into the forefront of leading American universities will take this infrastructural support. We cannot do the things we want to do, be what we want to be, without further building."

The net result will be short-term inconvenience for long-term gain. Campus disruption can be minimized, Chace said, giving the previous summers' pedestrian projects as examples. "We will try to schedule all of this construction in an organized and coherent way and reduce the imposition on the people who, as faculty, students and staff, make up this community."

Arts & Sciences: two phases for four buildings

Major new facilities for Arts & Sciences are scheduled for completion in the next five years. A physical sciences center and a performing arts center are on schedule to be constructed at a total estimated cost of $88 million. These facilities have been designed to maintain a strong Emory College presence near the Quadrangle, provide physical connections among complementary programs and departments, and support the teaching and research agendas of the Arts & Sciences.

"The Physical Science Center will provide an opportunity to transform the sciences at Emory, by alleviating the current space constraints on research and teaching, and by planning new space according to our future science goals," according to Steven Sanderson, vice president for Arts & Sciences and dean of Emory College. "The Performing Arts Center will give the arts programs on campus a stronger sense of identity and presence. It will be a true center for a wide range of creative and academic activities among students and faculty."

The Arts & Sciences division has benefited from several new facilities in the past decade such as the Rollins Research Building and the renovation of a number of facilities including the Dental School, the Quadrangle buildings, the Callaway Center, the former Emory Baptist Church and the Rich Building. Despite all these improvements and enhancements, Emory College has realized no significant gain in square footage per faculty or student because of larger enrollments and a larger faculty.

For example, a space utilization study in chemistry shows research laboratories currently filled beyond capacity, little lab space for new faculty, no available faculty offices and no capacity for research program growth.

"We have a need for additional academic spaces for our programs," said Rosemary Magee, associate vice president of Arts & Sciences and associate dean of Emory College. "We need standard classrooms, offices and labs, but we also need specialized spaces for computer labs, studio arts, performance and rehearsal spaces and seminar rooms."

Magee says they are working every day on facilities issues in Emory College. "We have a classroom study underway in White Hall and expect to begin a major upgrade of the classrooms during the winter break with new seats, better acoustics and new equipment," said Magee. The College is also actively planning for the renovations needed in Candler Library.

These new facilities have been on the drawing board for five to 10 years, and the University's new matching facility fund will allow the Arts & Sciences division to move ahead with design and construction.

The five-story, 70,000-square-foot, $23.2 million Phase I of the Physical Sciences Center will house mainly chemistry and the Emerson Center; several physics and mathematics and computer sciences offices also will be located there. The building will be connected to both the Atwood Chemistry Center and White Hall. This project will begin in May 1999 and be completed by August 2000.

Phase II of Physical Sciences will be built across the street from White Hall and will house physics, mathematics and computer science, and the Physical Sciences library. Plans call for construction on the five-story, 164,000-square-foot building to begin in the summer of 2000 and be completed by 2002 at a cost of $35.8 million.

"Phase I is principally a research building; it will allow people with similar basic research interests to come at problems from the different disciplines of chemistry, physics and math," said David Goldsmith, professor of chemistry and former department chair. Goldsmith has been involved in efforts to design a physical sciences facility for a decade. "This is not just about people here getting new space, although some research labs are bursting at the seams and need new space to grow their programs. Our real goal is to increase the number of faculty and programs, both at the senior and junior levels, in the physical sciences."

When both buildings are completed, a number of Emory College departments will be relocated. Physics will move from the Rollins Research Center; mathematics and computer science will move from the North Decatur Building. These two facilities will then be available for other departments such as biology and psychology to expand in Rollins and the Dental School building, and social science research spaces will become available in the North Decatur Building.

In addition to this expansion for the sciences half of the Arts & Sciences plan, a Performing Arts Center will complete the "arts village" concept first proposed in 1995. Since then, all arts programs have been relocated to recently renovated space: theater, dance and music offices and classrooms moved to the Rich Building or the Burlington Road Building, and the Emory Baptist Church was converted into the Performing Arts Studio to create a dedicated recital and rehearsal hall.

Phase I of the Performing Arts Center will be a three-story building nestled between Fishburne parking deck and the Goizueta School. The $30 million, 75,000-square-foot building will contain a 750 to 800-seat concert hall, a smaller instrumental rehearsal hall, practice and ensemble rooms, a 150-seat lab theater and a 150-seat dance studio. Faculty offices for theater, film and dance will remain in the Rich Building.

Although the $15 million needed by Arts & Sciences for this building has not yet been raised, Magee said that doesn't dampen their plans. "I have great confidence that we will be successful," she said.

Plans for the building will be presented on Dec. 2 to the trustee's buildings and grounds committee; a positive review will allow the planners to move forward to complete the design. Construction is expected to begin in May 2000 and be completed by August 2001.

Phase II of the Performing Arts Center calls for a theater building to be built across Fishburne Drive where Annex D now sits. The building will house a 200-seat studio theater, a film screening room, classrooms for Emory College programs and faculty offices.

Health sciences priorities: clinical and research space

Health sciences administrators held a "topping out" party Oct. 23 to celebrate completing the structure of the Yerkes Center addition. The building's frame is made of poured concrete and took 10 months to construct, according to Charlie Andrews, assistant vice president for health sciences planning and construction. The $13.1 million, 80,000-square-foot addition, which will house the Vaccine Center, will be completed in March after contractors install the mechanical system, roof and interior walls and fit the laboratories with fume hoods and casework.

The building's elaborate mechanical system-designed for its approximately 26 labs-contributes about 40 percent to its cost, Andrews explained. "It's a laboratory building, which means it's 100 percent outside air-single-pass air," he said. Unlike homes, where the air comes in, gets used and is re-used, in laboratory buildings air comes in only once and then exits the building through its ventilation system. "The maintenance costs of laboratory buildings after construction is probably three times that of office buildings," Andrews added.

The new nursing school will be the first of several post-master plan constructions for the health sciences and is slated to break ground in summer 1999. Sited on the southwest corner of Clifton and Houston Mill Road (formerly Michael Street), the 100,000-square-foot facility will cost about $21.6 million and will be completed in January 2001.

Schematic designs were submitted to and approved by the health sciences administration and the president's cabinet. "This building will be very 'Emory-esque,'" Andrews said. "We're hoping to bring back the Hornbostel influence, and it will follow the design guidelines of the master plan." The building's designers are Ayers/Saint/Gross, the master plan architects, who have teamed with the local firm Stang and Newdow. The current nursing school building will be turned over to Emory Hospital, which will use the facility to free up space for patient care.

Also breaking ground next summer, and eventually completing the biomedical "triangle" envisioned for the northeast campus, will be the Joseph B. Whitehead Research Building. The $75 million, 325,000-square-foot building "will be the largest on campus, outside of the hospital," Andrews said. "It's equivalent in size to the Woodruff Memorial Building-all four wings."

The eight-story building will sit at the south end of the Rollins Research Building and run parallel to the road and railroad track there; it is scheduled for completion in August 2001. Five floors will connect to the Rollins Research Building. Whitehead will stand a story higher than Rollins with two stories below grade. The firm Hellmuth Obata+Kassabaum (HOK) is the building's architect.

Site work for Whitehead will begin next summer with preliminary utility work. "All major utilities--steam, power and the telecommunications duct bank--will have to be relocated out of the way of the building's footprint," Andrews said. Plans also call for the demolition or relocation of the old greenhouse currently sitting there.

By December administrators will have decided on a site for the Winship Comprehensive Cancer Center, for which construction will begin in January 2000 and end 22 months later. The choice is between the Uppergate Pavilion site and the lawn in front of Emory Clinic Building B. "We're in the process of evaluating both sites," Andrews said. "There are advantages and disadvantages to each."

Uppergate has a larger footprint, but it's off the beaten path and not as prominent a spot for a comprehensive cancer center, of which there are only a handful in the country. The Clifton Road site is closer to the main clinic buildings, but a facility there would obscure Building B and reduce the green space fronting Clifton.

"Actually the University master plan shows a building on that spot--it's not considered critical green space," Andrews said. "And we would design the building in such a way that all of the lawn wouldn't go away.

"It's complicated, and we also have a fixed budget. So we need to evaluate all these considerations but be reality-based, because we don't have unlimited funding," he said At 200,000 square feet, the building will cost $45 million and will combine clinical and research space, the majority dedicated to outpatient care.

Should the Uppergate site be chosen, plans call to move the occupants to other spaces on campus: psychiatry beds to Emory Hospital; psychiatry offices to Tufts house, the building currently occupied by Campus Planning and Construction; and Student Health Services to the second floor of the 1525 Building. "We've gone through the planning process for that and have figured out exactly how they'd fit," Andrews said of Student Health Services. "That's a new space, and it's designed specifically for patient care, so it's much more appropriate."

After the books are closed on these health sciences projects, others will quickly take their place. Plans call for a Wesley Woods Hospital addition, to which the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine will be relocated. The center's current building will be renovated for use by the medical school, as will the Anatomy and Physiology buildings when those departments move to Whitehead in late 2001. "The Anatomy and Physiology buildings will be turned into School of Medicine educational buildings and house the dean's office," Andrews said. "It will be the first time in more than 100 years that the School of Medicine will actually have its own home."

--Jan Gleason and Stacey Jones

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