A new state-of-the art Biological Sciences Building took another step forward in November when the UM Board of Regents approved a schematic design. The $261 million project will bring together the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), and museums of Anthropology, Paleontology, and Zoology; as well as provide a new home for the popular Natural History Museum.

The 300,000-square-foot BSB will house the research laboratories, associated support functions, offices and classrooms for MCDB and EEB.

MCDB has been very active over the last year helping shape the spaces for research and teaching.

Laboratories within the building will be constructed in an open plan to allow for greater collaboration, increased flexibility and better space utilization. The new three-section building will be connected by two small glass atria. One atrium will serve as the lobby for the new Museum of Natural History. The design also will bring natural light into both office and lab spaces.

"The research problems being addressed now require groups of people with diverse backgrounds, talents and knowledge. The design provides multiple formal and informal interaction spaces throughout the building," said Myron Campbell, associate dean for natural sciences, in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). "The interaction spaces will facilitate groups, both within a single lab and across labs, to come together and discuss and work on problems."

Visitors to the Museum of Natural History will be able to see and interact with exhibits representing university discoveries as well as learn about current and ongoing research efforts. Classrooms will allow students to interact with actual specimens and artifacts in the expansive museum collections, and will enable faculty to use the latest ideas in teaching.

The building will sit adjacent to the Life Sciences Institute where North Hall and the Museums Annex currently exist. Those buildings will be demolished. The new building also will have a connection to LSI to increase utilization of its dock, to allow for sharing of research spaces and equipment and to increase collaboration between LSA and LSI researchers.

University officials expect the BSB project to take five years to complete construction and relocation of all departments. MCDB expects to move into the building in 2018, with the first classes held in the new building in that fall.

Funding will be provided from LSA and Office of the Provost resources.  The architectural firm of SmithGroupJJR and Ennead Architects will design the project

"Our goal is to provide a first-rate research and teaching space that will enable our current faculty to do their best work, and to recruit and retain the nation's top faculty and students," said LSA Dean Andrew Martin.


From University Record