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News Releases

August 28, 2006

Lord, Aeck & Sargent Completes $20 Million Renovation At Wayne State University’s Med School Headquarters Building

Design Results in 20 Percent Increase in Usable Square Footage, Opportunity to Increase Occupancy by Four Faculty Members

DETROIT, Aug. 28, 2006 – A $20 million renovation at the Gordon Scott Hall of Basic Medical Sciences, the main facility for the School of Medicine’s teaching, research and administrative functions at Wayne State University, has been completed. The project involved renovating approximately 40,000 square feet of space on the building’s third floor, turning it into research laboratory, specialized lab support, office and classroom spaces for the School’s Center for Molecular Medicine & Genetics and its Department of Pharmacology. In addition, electrical upgrades were made throughout the nine-story building.

Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s Ann Arbor, Michigan office was the architect of record. Wayne State financed the project through the sale of general revenue bonds.

“When Scott Hall was built 35 years ago, the third floor was intended to be a classroom teaching area,” said Daniel Walz, associate dean of research at Wayne State’s School of Medicine. “Even though the area wasn’t designed for laboratory research, over the years the classrooms were converted to research space without any real renovation. So our goal with this renovation was to create a space to meet the needs of science as it’s currently being practiced.”

“We designed the renovated area to be a collegial, collaborative and fertile environment for creative research,” said Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s Tom Grace, project architect. “There are four large open lab zones with plenty of flexible space to foster cross-pollination of ideas.”

Grace added that Lord, Aeck & Sargent achieved this flexibility by designing separate areas adjacent to the labs to house specialized research support equipment such as fume hoods, autoclaves and freezers.

“Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s design for Scott Hall’s third floor resulted in an increase of approximately 20 percent in usable square footage and the opportunity for us to increase occupancy by four faculty members,” Walz said. “We now have a quieter, more efficient place to work because the laboratory support equipment has been isolated.”

Logistics a Challenge

As in all renovation projects, logistics are a challenge. Grace noted that the Scott Hall renovation required having to move researchers into a temporary location for a year without disrupting their work. “We had to keep the researchers up and running so that there was no negative impact on Wayne State’s School of Medicine.

“The other challenge we faced was to raze most of the third floor area – everything except the stairs, the elevators, columns and the upper half of a two-story lecture hall – and do the renovation work without making too much noise in an active building,” he said. In order to minimize disruption in the remainder of the building, Grace said that exterior wall panels were temporarily removed and a chute constructed from the third floor to a dumpster at grade.

Andrea Burg, assistant director of design and construction services in the Wayne State Facilities, Planning & Management Department, said the Scott Hall renovation represents “a great faculty recruiting tool. It’s a beautiful, very functional space that will be a wonderful place to work and will allow science to flourish.”

The Project Team

The Gordon Scott Hall renovation project team includes:

  • Lord, Aeck & Sargent (Ann Arbor, Mich.),
  • architect Robert Darvas Associates (Ann Arbor, Mich.),
  • structural engineer Peter Basso Associates (Troy, Mich.),
  • MEP/FP engineer L.S. Brinker Company (Detroit), general contractor

About Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural, and multi-family housing and mixed-use markets. The firm’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. Lord, Aeck & Sargent has offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit the firm at