March 6, 2000
Volume 52, No. 24
Timetable modified for Emory West campus
By Jan Gleason
Because Emory academic leaders and faculty have determined that the University should keep academic programs on the central campus for now, permanent facilities for such programs will not be constructed at the Emory West campus at this time.
"Deans and faculty have expressed a desire to keep academic programs on the central campus during the near term since there are plans for new campus facilities to house many of them," said Provost Rebecca Chopp.
The Emory West Steering Committee, chaired by Chopp, has determined that an important short-term use (three- to 10-year window) for Emory West is to provide space in the two main existing buildings for programs that eventually will have a permanent home on the main campus and for several programs whose aim is to facilitate interaction between Emory and the surrounding community, including the new Office of University-Community Partnerships and perhaps the Office of Community Education. Additionally, there is discussion under way about installing six tennis courts to be used by students, employees and the Department of Athletics. Adjacent neighbors could also use the courts through special access cards.
"We have reviewed the early plans for Emory West," said Chopp. "We won't be building any structures there other than the EmTech Bio Sciences Center in the foreseeable future. After listening to faculty and staff during our deliberations about the future of Emory West, we revised our initial plans based on the desires we heard to keep many programs on the main campus. Faculty who have programs located at Emory West will have the security of knowing that their space will not be taken away in the near term, an issue that has been of some concern in the past."
Emory still intends to eventually raze all existing buildings at Emory West with the exception of the Candler Mansion. However it has become clear that, for now, it is more practical to repair and renovate the central buildings to fit Emory's immediate needs. Recent investments in the infrastructure of Emory West--a new phone switch, a roof repair to Building A and a new cooling tower--were funded by the University's general surplus, according to Charlotte Johnson, senior vice provost. "To recover some of those costs and routine operational costs, space in buildings A and B is being rented to various campus units," she said.
"We expect to move between 15 and 50 people into Building A during the next year," said Rosemary Magee, senior associate dean of Emory College. "These are people working on specialized research projects such as a new institute for research on families and the new community partnership center."
Health Sciences will expand its presence at Emory West. "We've had people in the psychiatry department there for some years," said Charles Andrews, assistant vice president of Health Sciences. "We expect to move 80-100 people there for the next couple of years--some from the School of Public Health, the institutional review board staff and various other units--until the Whitehead Research Center opens on the main campus in 2002."
Plans continue to develop for the joint Emory-Georgia Tech Biotechnology Develop-ment Center, recently renamed the EmTech Bio Sciences Center.
Last fall Emory trustees approved the conceptual master plan for Emory West that identified 800,000 square feet of program space in 17 buildings eventually could be built on the site; half the space was slated for the biotech center. No timetable, however, exists for building any of those permanent structures. The only construction scheduled is the placement of modular units for the EmTech Bio Sciences Center.
Although the modular units were installed Feb. 21, there is still work to be done on the center's organizational structure, according to Johnson.
"As the management partnership between Emory and Georgia has evolved, there are many issues that need to be negotiated and resolved before we can launch the EmTech Bio Sciences Center," said Johnson. "The joint Emory-Georgia Tech steering committee realized they needed additional expertise to help design the center and sought the approval of Bill Chace and Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough to appoint a planning committee.
"That committee comprises people experienced in biotech development and is being led by Parker Petit, founder and chairman of the Healthdyne Companies," Johnson said.
"This planning committee has four subcommittees: operations, seed fund, real estate and university policy. They issued a report in December to the steering committee that will provide direction in setting up the EmTech Bio Sciences Center. Then the joint steering committee will make a set of recommendations to Bill Chace and Wayne Clough about the structure of the EmTech Bio Sciences Center."
Johnson said the hope is to have the committee's report completed prior to occupancy of the temporary facilities. She added that Emory and Georgia Tech are developing a process to select the facility's first occupants. The modular units should be ready for occupancy by April, according to Al Herzog, Facilities Management project manager.
Each unit measures 24 feet wide and 46 feet long and is cream-colored with charcoal gray shingles, colors chosen to blend in with the Candler Mansion on the site. Herzog said Emory will continue to use the facilities as long as they are serviceable.
To make sure Emory stays in touch with its neighbors as it continues to develop plans for Emory West, an Emory West Liaison Committee with representatives from the adjoining neighborhood groups as well as Emory has been established by Betty Willis, associate vice president for governmental and community affairs. The group will meet regularly to discuss plans as they develop for Emory West.
Emory is planning a formal traffic study that will examine the conditions on Briarcliff and neighboring streets as well as project future conditions in the Emory West area.
Neighborhood representatives on the liaison committee will participate in the traffic study.
While future use of Candler Mansion is uncertain, the University will provide sufficient upkeep to prevent further deterioriation. The cost of restoring the mansion (estimated at $14 million) makes that option impractical for the University at this time, but Emory would consider leasing the facility to a non-University party--if a use could be identified that would be acceptable to the University and the state of Georgia.