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Planning the big move

Months of construction remain, with parts of the building still showing exposed steel, pipe and concrete, but planning is underway for filling the Albert Sherman Center with people and equipment.

The $400-million project is on schedule, and on budget, with the substantial construction of the building expected to be finished by the end of 2012. Once that last screw is set, however, the move-in phase will take several months to complete.

"Moving entire departments is a major logistical undertaking, so we are now working with groups across the campus to plan the move-in process, and we'll need time to implement the plan after construction is completed," said John Baker, associate vice chancellor of facilities management, who is overseeing the ASC construction project. "Just loading in the new furniture will take about another month after construction is done. That's before we begin to relocate laboratories and offices."

Current plans include a phased program for filling the building, beginning in late January 2013 and extending through May. Initial phases are expected to relocate research programs to the fourth and fifth floors of the ASC, which will house investigators and staff working in the RNA Therapeutics Institute, the Program in Bioinformatics & Integrative Biology and the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences.

Early moves are also expected for investigators and staff from the departments of pathology and microbiology & physiological systems, which are expected to occupy the eighth and ninth floors of the building. Other research programs slated to move into the ASC include the Neurotherapeutics Institute, the Gene Therapy Center, the Program in Systems Biology and the Centers of Excellence in Diabetes and Heart & Vascular Disease.

Although construction will be finished by the end of the year, the move-in schedule does not progress sequentially by floor. Much of the building is designed to be flexible, so laboratory and support spaces can be adjusted to accommodate the needs of particular investigators or departments. Prior to occupying a space, investigators and program managers will work with coordinators from the facilities team to finalize equipment layouts, prepare required utility connections and plan a detailed move sequence.

Additionally, the scheduling for occupancy of the educational spaces of the new building, and the opening of amenities such as the food service and fitness center, remain under active review, Baker said.

"Our team is still working though programing and allocation plans for significant areas of the Sherman Center, so those areas will see occupancy later in the schedule," Baker noted.

The new parking garage on Plantation Street also remains on schedule. It is expected to open by the end of 2012, with 1,400 parking spaces to serve the campus.