Groundbreaking for new MSU medical research facility

A rendering of the MSU medical research building that will be located on the site of the former GR Press building. (Feb. 6, 2015/Courtesy MSU)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University held its official groundbreaking ceremony for a new medical research facility in Grand Rapids Thursday morning.

The $88.1 million medical research facility will replace the old Grand Rapids Press building at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Michigan Street. The facility will occupy about half of the property and will be used for MSU’s College of Human Medicine. It will include five core labs and research program spaces.

Twenty-four researchers will move into the 160,000 square-foot facility when it’s finished in 2017, along with MSU medical students. About a dozen more scientists will be added later and more expansion in the future.

The facility will create more than 400 jobs and another 700 construction jobs over the next several years.

Peter Secchia talked about what a great asset the new medical facility will be for the West Michigan area.

“This is an economic development project I haven’t seen in my lifetime…and I’m so proud of it,” said Secchia. “The Big Ten Research is the leading group and that’s what we’re part of now, Grand Rapids is part of the leading group in the world.”

The new facility will be used to research Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, pediatric neurology, autism, cancer, genetics, and women’s health among other issues.

“There will be a large group of researchers working on disorders of the brain that happen as either we get older or maybe some conditions set in that cause things to deteriorate. They’re working to find out how that happens…how we might intervene in that process to know when it starts and how we might prevent it in happening,” MSU College of Human Medicine Dean, Dr. Marsha Rappley, MD, told 24 Hour News 8.

Those researchers will be joined by medical students who’ll need to understand the outcomes of the research. College and even high school students considering careers in the research field will work in those labs as well.

They will also work with outside groups like patient advocates to make sure the science is relevant to the patient.

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