Medical School celebrates opening of six-story research building
Dec. 14, 2007, was a historic and emotional day in the life of the Medical School and its family. The Medical School celebrated the last phase of its recovery from Tropical Storm Allison with a ribbon-cutting ceremony of its new six-story research space.
"This is a great day in the life of our Medical School, especially for all who weathered Tropical Storm Allison and its aftermath," said Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo. "This is also a very special day for me as a new dean - an event like this is the best part of my job - tangible evidence of what we all know about the greatness of our people and our school."
The chilly weather did not stop hundreds from gathering outside the new facility's front doors to hear the speeches by President Dr. James Willerson, UT System Board of Regents chair Scott Caven, and Dr. Bradford Goodwin, director of the Center for Laboratory Animal Research and Care (CLAMC). The invocation and blessing of the building was given by Dr. Bill Seifert, senior lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Many in the crowd were moved to tears as they recalled that day in June 2001.
"All of the animals were drowned and there were $165 million in structural damages," President Willerson said. "It was a daunting task, but we didn't give up."
Caven noted how the Medical School had increased its research funding during a time of increased competition and in makeshift workspaces. "With this new facility, we can only imagine the future," he said.
Goodwin proclaimed it a day for celebration and a "truly a momentous occasion for me." He described the resilience of the CLAMC staff as they cleaned up from the storm and spent years planning for this day. "My heartfelt thanks goes to all," he said.
The $80.5 million facility, which adds 200,673 gross square feet to the Medical School Building, was built on the site of the two-story former John Freeman Building. The new facility will be dedicated to research, focusing on stem cells and regenerative medicine, emerging infection, cell signaling/membrane biology, and neurobiology and neurosciences. New and existing faculty will move to the building, and it will be used as a recruiting tool to grow these areas of research.
-M. Darla Brown
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