EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile will soon be changing as Michigan State University looks to expand.
MSU trustees Friday approved a public-private partnership to add a building and parking deck on the site of the MSU Grand Rapids Research Center, located at the corner of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue NW. As part of the phase II expansion, the research campus will be known as Grand Rapids Innovation Park.
MSU says the project may also include a second building along Monroe Avenue “for additional, yet-to-be-determined, program space that will complement the research, education and innovation mission” of the university.
The expansion is meant to create better access to health care at a lower cost to patients.
Norman Beauchamp, Dean of MSU’S College of Human Medicine, spoke with 24 Hour News 8 about the new project.
“Once you discover something, how do you get it to the people who need access to it? And that’s what this will drive,” Beauchamp explained.
MSU is aiming to start the expansion project in the fourth quarter of 2019, with much of it completed by late 2021.
MSU opened its Grand Rapids Research Center in September 2017 at the site of the old Grand Rapids Press building, which was torn down years earlier. Each floor of the research building specializes in different research studies. The facility could initially house 33 research teams, with space for up to 44 research leaders and their teams, totalling approximately 250 workers.
Phase II is a privately-funded project to bring in medical partners who will take the discoveries made at the research center and advance them.
“Startups, venture capitalists, people that want to take some of the inventions in this (research center) building and in this community and develop things that either amplify the potential for these discoveries or more quickly bring it to patients,” Beauchamp explained.
Rockford Construction is the project developer. CEO Mike VanGessel sees it as an opportunity to be part of something special.
“The most important thing is it’s gonna save lives,” VanGessel said. “It’s gonna transform how we approach health care.”
The research center collaborates with Spectrum Health, the Van Andel Institute, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services for its studies.