Smart Move for Fred Hutch Research Center: New Building, + Sky Bridge?
Last year, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle acquired a newly-constructed 177,000 sf building adjacent to its campus on South Lake Union for $36Million. The complicated business of moving all of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division (VIDD) labs and faculty from their current building(s) into the new space is scheduled for June of 2012. While there will be an overall increase in lab square footage, the main advantages of the relocation involve building quality, location, and financial benefits.
According to Hutchinson Center board chairman Doug Walker:
"This offers an outstanding opportunity to expand our solid tumor, infectious disease and immunotherapy research as well as work toward the goal of consolidating all of the Center’s research activities onto one campus.”
Even a well-funded research institution like the Hutchinson Center (Hutch) needs to be business savvy and maximize its resources, both intellectual and fiduciary. To that end, the acquisition of and relocation to the building at 1100 Eastlake offers these benefits:
1) Supporting scientific research with first-class facilities and collaboration
1100 Eastlake was built in 2008 as a cutting-edge life sciences/biotech building with advanced mechanical, electrical and life safety systems. One of VIDD’s long term goals is expansion, and the new building will allow for recruitment of five new faculty members. Furthermore, 1100 Eastlake will house not only VIDD members, but also related faculty from divisions whose research focus synergizes with and complements VIDD’s programs.
2) Relocating to the main campus
“The principle reason we’re doing the move is so we can get back on the campus,” according to Banks Warden, Executive Director of VIDD, relaying the acknowledgment that the distance between the current building and the main campus is inconvenient. “One of the things we miss here is being able to just run into people in the hallway,” said Warden, commenting on the benefits of close interactions and frequent discourse with faculty at other research labs on campus.
3) Saving millions of dollars
The current VIDD building across the street from 1100 Eastlake is leased. The new facility is owned by Fred Hutch and was purchased at "a tremendous value," which will wind up saving about $3M a year, which can be funneled back into supporting research programs and new faculty.
In anticipation of its big move in June, Fred Hutch earlier this summer filed a petition with the city to build a pedestrian sky bridge between 1100 Eastlake and the Weintraub Basic Sciences building. While the two buildings only have a street between them, it's not a safe street for future pedestrian traffic because of traffic speed and limited visibility.
“Scientific advancements are dependent on the sharing of ideas and collaboration. The opening of the new building will enhance scientific interaction but at the same time creates safety concerns for faculty and staff who must access all areas of our campus on a 24/7 basis,” said Scott Rusch, VP of Facilities and Operations at the Hutchinson Center. “Once constructed, the skybridge will facilitate scientific collaboration and ensure the safety of the Center’s faculty and staff.”
(The yellow bridge in the map drawing at right indicates the location of the proposed skybridge. Drawing courtesy of ZGF Design and Fred Hutch, from their proposal to the city.)
Hutch hopes to have community and city approval for construction of the bridge by next summer, about the time they move researchers, equipment and supplies into the new building space.
Meet with researchers at Fred Hutch when Biotechnology Calendar Inc. holds its 7th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ event at the Center in Seattle on October 24, 2012.
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full-service event marketing and planning company producing on-campus life science research tradeshows nationwide for going on 19 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the best research campuses across the country. Life science researchers, purchasing agents, and lab managers are actively invited to attend to see the latest products and equipment and discuss their laboratory tool and service needs. See our nationwide show schedule for 2012.