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VOL. 128 | NO. 220 | Monday, November 11, 2013

Campus Revival

University of Tennessee Health Science Center outlines master plan

By Michael Waddell

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The University of Tennessee Health Science Center hosted a public information session on the development of its new campus plan last week at the Student-Alumni Center Dining Hall on its Midtown campus at 800 Madison Ave.

Perkins-Will principal and director of campus planning Krisan Osterby talked about what makes growth at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus unique. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

The Tuesday, Nov. 5, gathering outlined a flexible roadmap for the urban campus over the next 10 to 15 years, including a detailed 24-month schedule for the development of the new master plan.

“We are optimistic, excited and enthusiastic about what the culmination of this process will mean for the university,” said Dr. Ken Brown, UTHSC executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer.

Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins-Will, which developed UT Chattanooga’s campus master plan, recently won the bid to draft the new vision for the 102-year-old campus.

“Development of this particular health science center is a robust and complicated enterprise that is (located) in a very interesting part of the city, at a nexus between the medical district, Downtown and all of the evolving activity that happens through the corridors of the freeways,” said Krisan Osterby, Perkins-Will principal and director of campus planning.

The master plan design is expected to be fully completed by September 2015. Critical drivers of the plan will be the design of research centers, student life and housing, open spaces and parking.

In addition to a revitalization of the campus historic core, Osterby feels the campus’ current surface parking lots are prime targets for future redevelopment.

“Memphis is a distinct urban community with a distinct demographic and organizational structure,” said Osterby, who noted that design concepts would focus on community health and interdisciplinary teaching and practices.

Over the past three to five years, UTHSC has received between $250 million and $300 million in capital improvement funds. Several construction projects are already underway, including a multi-disciplinary simulation center and a translational research building, which is in the final stages of completion and is expected to be finished in the next three to six months.

The $5 million demolition of five older buildings on the campus, including the Beale building built in 1925, is in the final stages. The Feurt, Randolph, Hyde and Goodman buildings (all built between 1961 and 1988) are also being torn down.

“We are optimistic ... about what the culmination of this process will mean for the university.”

–Dr. Ken Brown, UTHSC

“We are having a pre-demolition meeting … and there’s a good chance one of the demolitions will be an implosion,” said Janet Smith-Haltom, principal with Hnedak Bobo Group Inc., which is handling the demolition of four of the buildings. “The buildings are functionally obsolete. The first thing to happen will be the removal of any hazardous materials (such as lead paint or asbestos) before any demolition can start.”

The demolition is contractually obligated to be completed in the next 120 days.

Next up for the campus and Hnedak Bobo will be a $68.4 million renovation of the school’s historic quadrangle.

“We will have the kickoff meeting for that project in the next few weeks,” said Smith-Haltom, whose firm is also leading the current construction of the school’s translational research facility.

Other ongoing work on the campus includes Brg3s Architects designing a pharmaceutical compounding facility. The Plough Foundation donated approximately $4 million to support the project, and UTHSC is likely to contribute another $5 million.

The university also wants to design a building for the College of Medicine, is in the process of designing a second building for the College of Dentistry, and it hopes to acquire some properties owned by Bioworks Foundation, where there are future plans for demolition and construction.

The fifth and sixth floors of the college’s new pharmacy building are now in the process of being built out with wet lab space for pharmaceutical research. The first four floors of the $70 million building came online last year.

UTHSC will maintain an interactive website to inform the community and stakeholders about the progress of the project, as well as to elicit any feedback and concerns.

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