Barton Malow/Brinker Undertakes Largest Capital Project in Wayne State University History
Wayne State University and the joint venture team of Barton Malow/Brinker have transformed an aging Cadillac dealership in the northern portion of the school's Midtown campus in Detroit's "Tech Town" district into the $93 million Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio).
"Among the goals of the project is to advance laboratory discovery through clinical trials and take it to patients' bedside as expeditiously as possible, looking to improve health care outcomes," says Jim Sears, Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning & Management at Wayne State.
Wayne State has considered IBio a top capital project since 2009. It is the largest capital improvement project the university has ever undertaken. The state capital outlay process provided $30 million and the university $63 million. The university acquired the property during the recent economic downturn, when the former dealerships closed.
The 209,700-square-foot, three-story building will enable the university to increase its participation in National Institutes of Health research funding. The university anticipates IBio will provide space for 65 to 70 research teams. It also houses a vivarium in the basement and flexible conference spaces. Henry Ford Health System, also in Detroit, has one of its research initiatives in the building. The focus is addressing health disparities in the neighboring communities.
"It's an anchor piece for midtown," says Jeï¬€ Stachowiak, Project Manager with the joint venture between Barton Malow of Southfield, Michigan, and LS Brinker of Detroit, explaining that the IBio building is at one of the last stops for the M1 rail line, which connects to downtown. "With the glass box and brick and stone work, it's a unique blend of new and old."
Harley Ellis Devereaux of Southfield, Michigan, designed the renovation and addition. A grand atrium and seminar space, wet laboratories and principal investigator offices are on the first floor. Labs and offices occupy levels two and three, with a mechanical penthouse above.
"Architecturally, the building is stunning," Sears says. "The open plan for our laboratories and offices makes the building efficient."
About half of the space is occupied and the university is recruiting researchers to fill the remaining space.
"It was an outstanding project," Sears says. "The whole team was pretty awesome."
Barton Malow/Brinker began in October 2012 by demolishing the two-story 83,300-square-foot former American Beauty and Iron Works Building constructed in 1920. Crews backfilled the site and used that space for the addition and a parking lot to support the new facility.
The construction team renovated 127,700 square feet of space in the 1920s-era Cadillac dealership, which had been designed by Albert Kahn, a renowned architect in the region, and constructed an additional 82,000 square feet of laboratory space to the east of the existing building on the 2.75-acre site.
"We wanted to do a historic restoration of a wonderful industrial building and add a contemporary design with the new construction," Sears said.
At the south end, the dealership had concrete, circular ramps allowing cars to be driven up to the third floor for repairs and painting and back down. Crews removed those ramps and built part of the addition in that area
"Dealing with a 1926 industrial building presented a number of different challenges," Sears says. "We had significant structural issues that were discovered during selective demolition."
The university initially believed the building to be structurally sound, but as it turned out, it wasn't.
"A lot of structural remediation had to take place to allow us to repurpose it into a research facility," Stachowiak says.
Crews resupported the old concrete columns and beams. In some cases, they removed old columns, shored up the structure and poured new columns or replaced the concrete column with a steel column. The concrete floors needed patching and replacing in spots.
"Often we'd get started doing some demolition and then needed to revisit the performance of the structure," Stachowiak recalls. "Do we need to resupport a column or a beam to keep moving forward?"
The phasing of the work also presented challenges. Initially, the plan was to start renovating the old and then build the new concrete-frame structure with a concrete spread-footing foundation. However, as the structural concerns arose in the historic building, crews began constructing the new building. That allowed the architectural, engineering and construction team time to investigate the issues associated with the old and come up with remediation techniques.
Barton Malow self-performed the concrete work. They also created three-dimensional models of the concrete work. Rebar requirements came from the model for fabrication. The company used just-in-time delivery for the steel. The steel arrived by truck and immediately was lifted by a tower crane into the building.
"Self-performing the concrete was the biggest piece that allowed us to keep moving with the new structure," Stachowiak says. "We could shift our crews to that. It was a seamless transition, without adding cost to the project. It allowed us to control schedule slippage from occurring."
Restoration and Renovation Work
Additionally, the urban setting created logistical challenges, particularly with a rail line being constructed adjacent to the site. That resulted in limited laydown areas and for trades to work.
The entire structure is managed by a building automation system controls humidity, temperature and pressurization, and provides alarm notification if conditions deviate from preset parameters.
Crews restored the west and north facades to maintain the historic feel. Any failing lime, stone or brick on the exterior was repaired and replaced. The addition had to be tied in and supported properly, Stachowiak says.
The wet labs, with epoxy floors and floor to ceiling glass, are in the old dealership portion of the project. On level three, where the paint shop had been located, crews replaced the open windows with translucent panels, bringing in natural illumination and creating a light and airy space. Research team offices are located adjacent to the wet labs and throughout the new section. The new addition sports a glass curtain-wall faÃ§ade.
Stachowiak says he is proud that the team achieved 30 percent resident and 30 percent Detroit-based contractor participation. And as a Detroit native, he was pleased to be part of a building that will help revitalize the city.
"We put a signature building in midtown Detroit," Stachowiak concludes. "We created jobs in Detroit."