At a gala event this evening, OMRF will unveil plans for its new “green” research tower. The facility will add 185,000 square feet of laboratory, administrative and clinical research space to OMRF’s campus—and will generate a portion of the energy it uses through 24 wind turbines that will sit atop its roof.
“This tower will be the first medical research facility anywhere to harness the wind to help power its labs,” OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., said. “It will be a model of energy efficiency and resource preservation. Just as importantly, it will serve as the keystone for the largest expansion in OMRF’s 63-year history.”
Following completion, the tower is expected to house 300 new OMRF researchers, physicians, technicians and staff members. The total project cost, including construction, equipment, furnishings and recruitment packages for 30 senior-level scientists, is projected to be $125 million.
To date, $51 million has been raised for the project, with a lead grant of $15 million from the Oklahoma Opportunity Fund.
“This is an investment that will pay major dividends for our state’s health, environment and economic development,” said Gov. Brad Henry. “In this tower, OMRF scientists will perform the research that will drive the next generation of life-changing discoveries. By building this one-of-a-kind research facility, we’re taking another crucial step toward making Oklahoma the Research Capital of the Plains.”
OMRF has already begun site preparation for the tower, which will sit directly north of the foundation’s main building at 825 Northeast 13th Street. Groundbreaking will take place in May, and the building is expected to be ready for occupancy by January 2011.
When completed, the tower will become Oklahoma City’s first gold-certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building by using innovative technologies to reap the benefits of Oklahoma’s environment. The most visible of these features will be the helix-shaped wind turbines located atop the tower, which will work in concert with other energy-saving features to decrease electricity usage by 17 to 33 percent.
Unique window and wall designs will bring natural daylight deep inside the tower to reduce electrical lighting, while newly developed energy management technologies will be harnessed to cut electricity usage. A living roof and rain garden will prevent runoff pollution and insulate the building. Water consumption will be reduced by recycling condensation from the air conditioning system and by using native plants in landscaping.
“Most people design a building and then ask, ‘How can we make this green?’” said Prescott. “We worked to install the green features first, and then we designed the rest of the building around those features.”
“With this building, we want to demonstrate that expansion can be bold and responsible at the same time,” he said.
Perkins + Will is serving as lead architect, with assistance from the Norman firm of Architects in Partnership. Flintco is acting as construction manager for the project.
Prescott emphasized that the building is the physical manifestation of an expansion that began in 2008, when OMRF successfully recruited seven new principal scientists from Duke University, the University of North Carolina, Yale University, the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, the National Institutes of Health and London’s Imperial College of Medicine.
“The most precious resource in biomedicine is human capital,” said Prescott. “This unique research facility will be key to bringing some of the world’s most talented biomedical scientists to Oklahoma.”