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Move-in begins at new education and research building

Two lab members standing among many unpacked boxes in a lab

Bioinformatician Sabrina Hallal and research associate Hannah Masters, members of the lab of Danny Winder, PhD, unpack boxes of equipment in the lab’s space in the new education and research building.

A moving van arrived on campus early on Monday, May 13, with the lab equipment Danny Winder, PhD, the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research Chair I and chair and professor of neurobiology, needs to set up his new office and lab at UMass Chan Medical School.

And so began a tightly choreographed process to move faculty, staff and equipment into the new education and research building on the Worcester campus.

“This day is a culmination of the great vision and determination of our chancellor and provost and nearly four years of planning, design and construction,” said David Flanagan, deputy executive vice chancellor of facilities. “It is a great milestone for our campus.”

Outdoor patio with tables and chairs overlooking the campus green
The new education and research building includes outdoor patio seating with a view of the campus green.

The green light for the move came Friday, May 10, when a temporary certificate of occupancy was issued after weeks of testing and inspections by a team of state building officials and the Worcester Fire Department.

Occupants of the building will move in in phases, because while it is now considered “substantially complete,” there is still some interior finish work to be done to get all the laboratories and the public spaces ready for general access.

“The building is not open for the campus community yet,” said John Beyer, senior director of space planning and occupancy management. “There’s minor construction on several floors, and because of the logistics of the move, we can’t have people in the way.”

Dr. Winder’s lab is moving from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville where he served as the Bixler-Johnson-Mayes Chair in Basic Sciences, and professor of molecular physiology & biophysics, pharmacology and psychiatry before coming to UMass Chan. The other occupants are moving from spaces in the Lazare Research Building, Albert Sherman Center and Biotech 2, and include the Horae Gene Therapy Center; the Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology, including the Wellstone Center; the Program in Molecular Medicine; and a section of the Department of Psychiatry.

The move-in plan has been months in the making, with detailed protocols for safely relocating laboratory supplies, chemicals and equipment. “It’s been an intense and collaborative planning effort working with the academic departments, support departments and the construction team,” Beyer said.

The official opening of the building is set for Friday, June 7, at 11 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that is open to the campus community. Renowned global public health leader and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, will deliver a keynote speech at the event.

Outside of the new education and research building showing the monumental staircase

A key feature of the new education and research building is the monumental staircase that rises on the outside and inside of the building, divided by a glass wall.

Construction of the nine-story, 350,000-square-foot building began in 2020. The building was designed to serve as a collaborative research space and provide educational and meeting space for UMass Chan’s three graduate schools.

The building is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency and sustainability, in alignment with UMass Chan’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

The construction manager for the new building is Shawmut Design and Construction. The architect is ARC/ Architectural Resources Cambridge (the same firm that designed the Sherman Center) in collaboration with ZGF Architects. TERVA/Trident is the owners project manager for the project.