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Dean Robert J. Dolan
  Robert J. Dolan

New Building Project Officially Launched

5/4/2005 --

Architects turn to faculty, staff and students to shape, clarify building design.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Dean Robert J. Dolan launched the first phase of the new Ross School building project on April 27 to an audience of approximately 65 people representing the faculty, staff and student leadership of the school's various facilities committees, as well as the University's architecture, engineering and construction management team and the architects and project managers from Kohn Pedersen and Fox (KPF).

Two messages pervaded the two-hour session: The project has an aggressive timeline with construction targeted to start in May 2006, and the architects are relying on faculty, staff and students to shape and clarify the actual building design.

"Our concept plan is really a first blush," said Jill Lerner, a principal with KPF, a New York-based architectural design firm. "We think the concept makes sense logically but this is the moment for you to think, 'Am I in the right location?' We come with a certain amount of knowledge but we need your input to make the design right."

Lerner presented the complete design schedule and explained the next 16 weeks will be an intense period devoted exclusively to defining the design, including the character of the building, facade, materials, windows and all aspects of environmental sustainability. "Do not hesitate to be very vocal and say what you think," Lerner reminded. "It is hard to read minds. We really want to get this right." After this phase, a schematic design will be presented to the Regents for their approval.

The proposed concept features a spiral roof line beginning with three stories at the building entrance and ascending to six stories at the apex. At present, the Ross School campus has 306,400 square feet. Based on the initial concepts, approximately 181,800 may be demolished and 245,000 will be added. The net gain to the campus will be 100,000 square feet with an estimated 80 percent of operations moving to a new location. A $145 million budget was approved by the Regents in February.

Faculty, staff and students form the internal Community Creation Committee, which is comprised of a 19-member facilities steering committee and seven design work groups. The steering committee and all work groups have a mix of faculty, staff and students. The work groups are organized by design topic: Community Life, Classroom Design, Group Study Design, Faculty Offices and Support Space, Technology Guidance, Environment/Energy Impact and Communications. An integrated plan for gathering suggestions and disseminating information is under development.

"We are trying to do something extraordinary here," Dolan told the group. "The outcome I am hoping for is embodied in the name Community Creation Committee. We are trying to create more than great classrooms, big offices and great food service. We are trying to create a learning community that supports the educational process of the future. To do that, it needs a soul."

Click here for a video of the Schematic Design Kickoff meeting (1 hour and 11 minutes.)
NOTE: You will need a broadband Internet connection and Windows Media Player to view the video.

To read more about plans for the school's state-of-the-art facilities, click here. (PDF 875 KB)

For more information, contact:
Cynthia Shaw
Phone: 734-936-2150