RUNNING OUT OF research space, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will begin construction next week on a $140 million tower that will house more than 400 researchers and administrators and define a new gateway to the East Baltimore medical campus.
Hopkins has set Monday as the date for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the building, part of a large investment in research facilities in East Baltimore and the most expensive building constructed for the medical school.
Other recent capital investments by Hopkins include the $59 million Bunting-Blaustein Cancer Research Building on Orleans Street and the clinical research areas of the $125 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Comprehensive Cancer Center at Orleans and Broadway.
Planned for the southeast corner of North Broadway and East Madison Street, the newest tower is tentatively called the Broadway Research Building but might be renamed if one or more major donors emerge.
It will be a permanent home for the year-old McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine, now in several locations at Hopkins. It also will contain other school of medicine laboratories and a mouse breeding facility when it opens in early 2004.
Hopkins' School of Medicine receives more biomedical research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other medical school - $255 million for 1999-2000. Administrators say Hopkins needs the new building so it can continue its pioneering research work, especially in new areas such as genetic medicine.
"To maintain this position, we need more space for our brilliant scientists," said Edward D. Miller, dean of the medical faculty and chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The 380,000-square-foot research tower will be a "new gateway to the school of medicine and another step in our continuing effort to revitalize this part of the city," Miller said.
Payette Associates of Boston is the architect for the tower, with Barry Shiel as project manager. A construction manager will be selected by next month, according to Jack Grinnalds, senior director of facilities management for the medical school. Funds for construction are from loans, philanthropic gifts and the state, which is expected to provide $24.8 million, he said.
Wedge-shaped in plan, the building will have nine levels above ground and one level below grade, with research space occupying the upper six levels. Administrative space, loading docks and mechanical equipment will be on lower levels.
The Madison Street side will be clad in buff-colored masonry, to match nearby research buildings, and the south faM-gade will be clad mostly in glass to take advantage of views of the downtown skyline. On research levels, labs will be on the north side, and offices will be on the south side.
The tower will be connected on several levels to the 1991 Ross Research Building over Rutland Avenue and will partially frame a landscaped plaza in the middle of the block that will open onto Broadway. The courtyard will provide a new entryway to the Hopkins' research campus.
Because many of the changes in biomedicine will be driven by discoveries from the Human Genome Project, the McKusick-Nathans Institute will be a key program.
It was named for two Hopkins pioneers in genetics research, Victor McKusick, university professor of medical genetics, and Daniel Nathans, a Nobel laureate who died early this year. Scientists at the institute study genes that trigger disease directly and genes that make people more susceptible to diseases. Scientists will study how genes influence medical treatment.
Important for researchers in the new building, and those throughout Hopkins, will be the availability of "core facilities" - centers that offer often-costly cutting-edge technology or perform highly skilled techniques not possible in individual labs.
The new labs will reflect the blurring of scientific boundaries that is characteristic of biomedicine in that they probably won't be arranged traditionally by department. Biologists studying genes that control embryo development might be clustered with researchers studying mice that carry Down syndrome.
Organization to present three preservation awards
Baltimore County Historical Trust will hold its annual meeting at 7 p. m. June 15 at Jessop's Methodist Episcopal Church, 14019 York Road in Sparks. The organization will make preservation awards to Glyndon Train Station LLC; Joseph Klaff, curator of Gunpowder Copperworks; and Eleanor Lukanich of Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society. James Wollon, an architect who specializes in preservation, will be the featured speaker.