Parking lot gives way to genomic biology building

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Online Poster

By Se Young Lee

Pedestrians at the northwest corner of Gregory Drive and Goodwin Avenue are likely to come across a deep, rectangular hole to the east of the Morrow Plots.

That hole will soon be filled by the Institute of Genomic Biology (IGB) building, according to University officials. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich broke the construction grounds in June 2003.

Jennifer Quirk, associate director of IGB, said it was important for the IGB building to be located on the center of the campus because it needs to be “the anchor” for the researchers of the institute, who are from a wide range of University departments. She said there was no longer a need for the parking lot that used to occupy the land because of the new multi-level parking lot next to the fire station on Gregory and Dorner drives.

Quirk said the building’s designers had to take special care to protect the Morrow Plots.

“A lot of effort was made so the Morrow Plots would not be shaded,” Quirk said.

Helen Coleman, director of construction of the University’s Facilities and Services, said the Illinois state government funded almost all of the $75 million required to construct the building.

The state government will continue to pay for the maintenance of the 186,000-square-foot building, according to IGB’s Web site. It also said the research projects conducted by IGB staff, which include tissue engineering and the role of the genome in human behavior, will be funded by the federal government, corporations and foundations as well as other outside sources.

Phil Newmark, assistant professor of the University’s School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, said he was very excited by the prospects of working with genomics researchers from many disciplines. Newmark, a member of the regenerative biology and tissue engineering research team, said the building will provide an atmosphere that will allow for researchers to see their projects through different lenses.

“It will facilitate interaction between researchers across campus,” he said. “(The building will) really bring an interdisciplinary approach to scientific problems.”

Tim Kerestes, IGB’s director for operations and facilities, said constructions will conclude sometime between May and July of 2006.