VOL. 133 | NO. 36 | Monday, February 19, 2018
St. Jude Announces $412 Million Advanced Research Center
By Andy Meek
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is breaking ground this spring at its Downtown campus on a $412 million, 625,000 square foot advanced research center, a major piece of the hospital’s ongoing $1 billion capital expansion.
In an interview with The Daily News, St. Jude president and CEO Dr. James Downing called the state-of-the art hub of scientific discovery and exploration “really the future of the organization” and a major milestone for St. Jude. A milestone that will see the hospital add, via the new as-yet unnamed center, a “research environment that’s unparalleled and serves as an area that will help us attract the best minds from across the globe.”
The facility - developed by The Crump Firm, lead architect on the project, with Jacobs Engineering designing the lab and Flintco managing construction - will feature labs focused on immunology, neurobiology, cell and molecular biology, gene editing, metabolomics, advanced microscopy, epigenetics, genomics, immunotherapy and RNA biology. It also will house technology and resources that accelerate the pace of discovery - and ultimately, St. Jude promises, resources that “transform science.”
The hospital says it will be laid out in such a way as to encourage researchers to collaborate openly and across departments. And it will stream natural light through open atriums and courtyards, as well as featuring “interaction zones” that unite different science disciplines.
The facility - St. Jude is sticking with calling it the hospital’s “advanced research center” for now - doesn’t have a formal name yet. Downing said it will be built on the campus’ eastern edge near the Danny Thomas overpass. Right now, there’s a 1-story brick building there that houses function’s like HR and a data center.
That building will come down in April, with construction then moving forward on the new facility. It’s slated to open in 2021.
The new center is a combination relocation and expansion. At capacity, the building will house 1,000 workers. But Downing could not speculate on how much of that is directly attributable to the new facility, since some departments and employees are being relocated to it and others are being hired specifically for it.
“Right now, a number of departments are moving into this new facility,” Downing said, adding that other additions include a new conference room, “significant new technology” moving into the building and more.
Dr. James Morgan, St. Jude scientific director and executive vice president, said every aspect of the research center has been customized to “inspire” and support researchers who want “to lead and collaborate.” Two of eight floors in the center also are slated for future expansion and evolving technology.
The center is part of St. Jude’s six-year, $7 billion strategic plan to accelerate progress toward curing childhood cancer. It’s also a major piece of the hospital’s $1 billion capital expansion of its Downtown campus and is designed to accommodate future lab growth.
“This will give us space that will really meet the needs of the organization over the next 20 years,” Downing said. “It’s a major milestone in the history of the organization.”
The new center, at a glance:
- Six floors of research labs, eight floors total
- Will include a biorepository
- Will serve as a flagship for basic and translational research at St. Jude
- More than 5,000 construction workers and 125 vendors will be needed to build the center over three years. More than 75 percent of the positions and subcontractors are expected to be hired from around Memphis