OU breaks ground for Human Health Building

Hundreds gathered under a large tent Monday morning for the groundbreaking ceremony of Oakland University’s Human Health Building.

“Beginning in 2012, OU’s School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing will relocate to this new 161,000 square foot human health building, bringing two schools under one roof for the first time in university history,” said Ken Hightower, dean of health sciences.

Following a series of speeches from OU President Gary Russi, Board of Trustees members, a state senator and others, select groups of people stood alongside Russi to shovel commemorative piles of dirt at the proposed site of the building, which is expected to be completed in fall 2012.

The five-story building – the newest addition to campus since Carlotta and Dennis Pawley Hall was constructed in 2004 – will reside on the northwest corner of campus and is priced at $62 million. About $40 million will come from the State of Michigan’s capital outlay projects fund. The rest will come largely from general revenue bonds issued last year.

No public funding will go toward financing the building, according to John Beaghan, VP of finance and administration.

Last week, OU received a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy that will go toward making the building eco-friendly.

“When completed, the building will include a water conservation system, enhanced air quality system and a geothermal heating and cooling system that will cut energy costs about 50 percent,” Russi said.

Both the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences will be housed in the building, which was designed by the Detroit office of SmithGroup architectural firm.

In addition to new classrooms and seminar facilities, the building will include an interactive media center and clinical labs.