Changes are in the pipeline for Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s O’Dowd Hall, where a major renovation and expansion are planned.
Plans call for more space on the first floor for the addition of medium-sized classrooms, more study space and a break room with kitchen-related amenities and more.
The project will also include an upgraded entrance space, called a ‘gateway’, which will enhance visible access to OUWB in O’Dowd Hall and be more functional for all visitors and residents.
The $9.7 million plan was approved by the Oakland University Board of Trustees on June 13.
The period for submitting construction drawings and construction management proposals ended on July 20, and officials are currently reviewing the submissions. Final plans are expected to take six months to complete and construction is expected to begin in early 2023. (A webpage about the project that will be updated as the project progresses can be found here.)
“I’m excited that we’re making progress,” said Steve Collard, Vice Dean of Business and Administration. “We’re just trying to do this as quickly and efficiently as possible… the university really helped us achieve those goals.”
History of O’Dowd
|A photo of O’Dowd Hall under construction.|
O’Dowd Hall is named after Donald O’Dowd and his wife Jan O’Dowd. Donald O’Dowd joined the OU in 1960 as a founding member of the university’s psychology department. He was appointed dean of the university in 1961 and was president of the OU from 1970 to 1979. Jan O’Dowd was also deeply involved with the OU, helping to recruit teachers and foster a community of teachers and their families, staff and students.
In late 1978, O’Dowd Hall was grounded and the building’s dedication ceremony took place on July 17, 1981.
Renovations since then have changed the building in several ways.
The biggest renovation was around the time OUWB welcomed its first class. At the time, O’Dowd Hall was undergoing a $5.3 million renovation, which included exterior upgrades, creating new breakout spaces, building the student lounge and room 110 (a large flexible classroom that can be divided into smaller ones). learning spaces).
When the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) granted the maximum possible re-accreditation to OUWB in 2020, the organization signaled the need for further renovation.
When LCME officials visited the OUWB as part of the regular re-accreditation process, the school was given an “unsatisfactory” status in part of the evaluation for essentially not having enough medium-sized classrooms (for up to 25 students at a time) and small group space.
Collard said the reports that the “inadequate” status alone somehow jeopardized OUWB’s accreditation were untrue.
What’s true, he said, is that any medical school’s accreditation could be threatened if they get an “unsatisfactory” score on something identified by LCME, and nothing is done about it.
That’s why Collard and other OUWB leaders have been busy with Fishbeck (one of Oakland University’s approved architect salesmen) to come up with a plan to satisfy LCME and make necessary improvements to O’Dowd Hall. bring.
“This is all part of the process,” Collard said. “We are working on this and we are making progress that will really benefit our students and educators in important ways.”
The new plan
Details of the changes are described in “The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine O’Dowd Hall Space Study” dated June 15, 2022 and prepared by Fishbeck+SLAM.
Changes to the first floor include:
- Approximately 5,000 square meters will be renovated for new classrooms, consisting of 10 14-seat seminar rooms with operable partitions, allowing eight of the seminar rooms to be expanded to four 28-seat classrooms.
- Corridor upgrades and the new entrance gate will provide approximately 75 additional study/social chairs, as well as a pre-functional space to set up food or materials outside the classrooms.
- There will be two new unisex toilets and the current toilets will be completely renovated.
“LCME pointed out during their visit that we didn’t have medium-sized classrooms or small group space for some of the new forms of learning,” Collard said. “For example, there is a case-based, problem-based learning that needs to be done in small groups.”
|The new entrance has been designed to give a more welcoming feel.|
Collard said a secondary goal of the O’Dowd renovations is to create a “gateway” to the building.
According to the plans, the new entrance is to be located on the east side of the building – the entrance most commonly used when entering O’Dowd Hall from the nearest parking lot.
Collard said the new entrance would increase the school’s visibility on campus, create a much more welcoming feel and improve service and security – a contrast to the design of the current entrance.
He added that plans are under development to essentially provide a security perimeter around the first and second floors occupied by OUWB, giving students 24/7 access to study space.
Plans for the new entrance call for an open staircase that seamlessly connects the first and second floors and provides a new reception area for guiding guests. On the first floor, spaces will be added where students can take a break, charge devices and have a bite to eat.
Cost and more
Collard said he’s been asking a lot of questions about cost, timeline, and more.
The costs, he said, would be covered by the OUWB’s cash. That means tuition costs will not increase to cover the project and no other funding is needed either.
With regard to the timeline, a request for quotation was made at the beginning of July. The deadline was July 20. Collard said officials are currently reviewing the bids and he expects a selection to be made now. It is expected that half a year of planning will follow, with a view to March 2023 as the start date for construction.
Collard said he will work with contractors to minimize distractions for residents in the building, especially during the school year.
Collard also said he has received questions regarding the portion of the OUWB’s Strategic Plan 2022-25 that calls for OUWB to “formulate and implement a plan for a new medical school building to meet the OUWB’s long-term needs.” “.
But, he said, there are many questions to be answered: where would the building be, would it be a new building or a renovation of an existing building, how big would it be, how would it be paid for?
“A task force will be formed to carefully plan what a long-term medical school building on a clinical campus should include,” Collard said.
In addition, he said, another of the school’s strategic objective is to “ensure that the facilities meet the short-term needs of the OUWB through 2025.”
Collard added that the school simply cannot wait when it comes to addressing the immediate needs identified by LCME.
“We have two parallel goals — to provide the space that medical students and faculty need today — and to carefully plan for the best long-term future space for the OUWB,” Collard said. “The O’Dowd project is a great short- and long-term investment for Oakland University. We are taking older space and turning it into something new that will benefit students for years to come.”
For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Writer, OUWB, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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