OMRF raised the final steel beam on its new research tower yesterday. The hoisting of the beam, which was signed by hundreds of OMRF employees, marked the culmination of a “topping out” ceremony for the 186,000-square-foot facility.
“What an exciting moment for the State of Oklahoma and for OMRF,” said Gov. Brad Henry. “With the frame of this tower in place, it won’t be long before scientists are making discoveries in new labs and patients are receiving care in state-of-the-art research clinics.”
Tower construction began in 2009 and is expected to be complete by December 31, 2010. Scientists, physicians and support staff are scheduled to begin moving into the building in January 2011.
The tower will be home to 34 new laboratories, including OMRF’s Cardiovascular Center. It will also house a research clinic, where physicians will treat patients suffering from autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
The construction effort has employed approximately 600 Oklahomans. To build the tower, those workers used:
- 700 tons of rebar
- 200 tons of steel
- 14,320 sheets of drywall
- 65,000 square feet of glass
- 473 miles of copper wire
“The concrete alone that went into this building is enough to build a sidewalk from Norman to Guthrie,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “And 100 percent of the materials that make up the concrete come from Oklahoma.”
The use of local materials is part of the effort to build the structure in a way that minimizes environmental impact and maximizes sustainability. With 24 wind turbines atop its roof, the tower will be the first medical research facility in North America to use the wind to help power its labs.
The building will be the second in Oklahoma to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. It boasts newly developed energy management systems to cut electricity usage and a living roof and rain garden to 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
“At topping-out ceremonies, it’s customary to raise a tree with the final beam,” said Prescott. “But because this will be a green building with only low-water plants on our roof garden, we decided to skip the tree.”
“It’s wonderful to see OMRF taking the lead in sustainable construction,” said Gov. Henry. “And when it’s complete, this tower will be home to hundreds of new researchers and staff, who will help sustain our state’s health and economy.”