The Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed) project designed by The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) in collaboration with Diekema Hamann (DH) Engineers and construction professionals at Walbridge, won the award of merit for the best project of the Midwest region in the higher education/research category according to Engineering News-Record (ENR) as well as the Silver Project Leadership Award for the Construction Owners Association of America (COAA). ENR’s Regional Best Projects is an annual awards program where industry leaders in design and construction use five criteria including safety, innovation, functionality of design, aesthetic quality and teamwork to judge each project. COAA celebrates Owners who achieve excellence through exceptional leadership and project management through its Project Leadership Award Program. The Program promotes leadership, professionalism, and management excellence of Owners involved in the design and construction process. When asked how Western Michigan University differentiated itself from other projects, COAA committee member Rose Costanzo of Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, shared the following commentary, “In comparison to other submissions, they established project goals up front with a team approach that allowed their project to align target and actual dates. They implemented BIM as a quality control, along with meeting all of the other criteria required.”
The idea to create a new, four-year medical school in Kalamazoo originated in 2007 from Western Michigan University President John M. Dunn, who had a vision for WMU to become an institutional leader in medical education. Collaboration between WMU, Borgess Health, and Bronson Healthcare, along with a $100 million donation from Homer Stryker’s granddaughter, Ronda Stryker, and her husband William Johnston, a WMU trustee, made the vision to develop a new medical school into reality. The SLAM-DH-Walbridge Team came together to transform a former 30-year-old pharmaceutical research building in downtown Kalamazoo, donated by William U. Parfet, the chairman and chief executive officer of MPI Research and the great-grandson of W.E. Upjohn, into the new WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
SLAM was responsible for designing a modern environment to encourage and promote a higher level of learning and interaction. The new facility includes a regional simulation center that responds to curriculum and professional development needs and incorporates classrooms and lecture halls that can accommodate a problem- and team-based pedagogy. The project provides informal learning spaces with access to technology, while in the midst of building a community for a new school of medicine. It features a three-story atrium that connects the main building to a new three-story addition, a 22,000-square-foot medical simulation laboratory and a grand seven-story stairway. The inaugural facility became the home to a pioneering class of medical students, faculty, and staff last fall.
“Our inaugural class is midway through its second year and we welcomed 60 new students to WMed in August. Our students enjoy having such an outstanding medical school facility to train to be exceptional clinicians, leaders, educators, advocates, and researchers,” said Hal Jenson, MD, MBA, WMed’s founding dean. ““The building design is an inspiring environment to learn, to teach, and to work.” The project was profiled in the November 16 edition of ENR Midwest.