Construction tour of MSU Grand Rapids Research Center

The medical research building is on track to open in late 2017

Inside Michigan State University's Grand Rapids Research Center on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.
Inside Michigan State University's Grand Rapids Research Center on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new Michigan State University addition is still on track to open in late 2017, and 24 Hour News 8 got a sneak peek inside its active construction project to see the progress.

Officials broke ground on the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center last June. It’s located on the site of the former Grand Rapids Press building.

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees gave approval to the $88 million dollar project last year in early February.

A rendering of the MSU medical research building that will be located on the site of the former GR Press building. (June 18, 2015/Courtesy MSU)
A rendering of the MSU medical research building that will be located on the site of the former GR Press building. (June 18, 2015/Courtesy MSU)

On Friday, 24 Hour News 8’s Marvis Herring toured the six-story, 162,800-square-foot facility with Dr. Aron Sousa, the interim Dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine.

“It looks like it’s going so fast when they put the skin on and put the iron up,” said Sousa, “but the majority of the work is done inside.”

Since the projected finish date is still about a year out, he helped put the blueprint into focus.

“For each of the floors, we have the labs sort of divided up into bays,” Sousa explained. “That allows us to be more flexible.”

He said that flexibility will be key, and he’s most excited about the integration that makes it easy for scientists across multiple disciplines to come together.

“Research is very much a team sport nowadays. Multiple investigators work together.”

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)
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)

Around 200 students and staff will make up 26 teams. Those teams will fill the brand new building and contractors are working with growth in mind. There will be enough space for about 400 people and as many as 44 teams.

“You can’t really have a[n] academic institution like Michigan State without great scholarship and great research, and to do that you have to have great space,” smiled Sousa.

The view of “Medical Mile” is an extra perk.

“We think of it as an anchor to the medical mile up the hill,” said Souda.

Dr. Sousa told 24 Hour News the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center has a number of partnerships locally, including Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital, the Van Andel Institute and Spectrum Health.

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MSU College of Human Medicine

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