A host of dignitaries will be on hand this afternoon when University of Massachusetts officials dedicate their new $400-million Albert Sherman Center at UMass Medical School, a state-of-the-art biomedical research and education facility that opened earlier this month.
UMass Medical School Chancellor Dr. Michael F. Collins will be joined by Gov. Deval Patrick, Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, U.S. Rep. James McGovern, among others, as well as Albert "Albie" Sherman, the school's former vice chancellor of university relations, for whom the 512,000-square-foot building is named.
The centerpiece of Patrick's Life Sciences Initiative, the Sherman Center will double the school's research capacity. It's intended to maximize collaboration and interaction among researchers, educators and students to encourage innovation and learning across medical disciplines. It will also serve as the home of the school's Advanced Therapeutics Center, made up of the RNA Therapeutics Institute, the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Gene Therapy Center, the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and the Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation, according to a statement from the school.
It will also serve as the home to 2006 Nobel Laureate and UMass Medical School Professor Craig Mello, who will continue his work on RNA interference, a key focus of the life sciences initiative. Mello will also be on hand for today's ribbon-cutting ceremony, scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
The Sherman Center has received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the second-highest designation from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which assesses standards for green building construction and renovations. Earning a LEED certification requires the evaluation of every aspect of a building project, from the design process, to construction practices and materials, to the building's energy profile.
The combination of efficient design, sustainable building practices and advanced technologies integrated at the center will result in it operating 25 percent more efficiently, consuming 4.1 million fewer kilowatt hours of electricity, using 30 percent less water, and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 million pounds annually, as compared to similar buildings of standard design, according to UMass Medical School.
"Stewardship of the environment, which is fundamentally linked to global public health, is a core value of our community," Collins said in a statement. "Designing and building the Albert Sherman Center to meet the high standards of LEED Gold is a wonderful achievement and all those who have been involved in this project should be proud."
Designed by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge, the Sherman Center was built on time and under budget. Construction of a nearby 1,440-space parking garage was managed by Suffolk Construction.