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Ferris State University Selects Architecture Firm for New Optometry Facility

pictureBIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University has selected Neumann/Smith Architecture of Southfield, Mich., to design and build the new facility for the Michigan College of Optometry/Center for Collaborative Health Education, for which construction is slated to begin in May 2009.

After years of lobbying efforts by Ferris and the Michigan Optometric Association, the state of Michigan has committed the funds for the new facility, which has a total projected cost of $26.9 million, with the state of Michigan providing 75 percent of that cost, or $20,175,000. Ferris is responsible for raising the remaining 25 percent, or $6,725,000. To date, more than $1,356,000 has been pledged to or raised by the university for the new facility, including a $1 million gift from the Dow Foundation.

"The new facility will be a tremendous asset in meeting MCO's goal of educating students to become successful optometrists," said David Eisler, president of Ferris. "Not only will a modern facility attract the best and brightest students and faculty from across the U.S., but it will provide patients with a more comfortable health-care environment," added Eisler.

Specifically, the new facility will feature a ground-floor eye and vision care clinic offering clinical training for optometry interns and optometric/medical eye care to area residents; optical and contact lens dispensary where student interns receive practical hands-on training in the fitting of optical devices; a laser surgery room for staff ophthalmologists allowing student interns to gain experience on campus in the handling of pre- and post-operative care of patients undergoing eye surgery; classrooms, laboratories and faculty/administrative offices; distance-learning facilities; teaching auditorium; research laboratories; and an Optometric Center for Lifelong Learning and Competency for the continuing education of MCO/FSU graduates.

"The MCO family has dreamed of a new building for more than 15 years," said Dr. Nancy Peterson-Klein, interim dean of the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris. "We are extremely grateful to all those who have helped us secure funding for our building, and we look forward to our continued success in realizing our vision of gradating outstanding healthcare providers of tomorrow."

Neumann/Smith plans to build the estimated 91,000-square-foot modern health-care facility on the proposed site at the corner of State Street and Ferris Drive, next to the College of Allied Health Sciences, creating an educational synergy within the health sciences complex of Optometry, Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences at Ferris.

The architecture firm is no stranger to the Ferris campus. The firm most recently designed the Interdisciplinary Resource Center connector, and they also designed the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education, and the Timme Center for Student Services.

Neumann/Smith's design and management capabilities are complemented by the construction management firm Clark Construction Co. of Lansing and Petoskey; the medical expertise of Medical Design International (MDI); mechanical and electrical engineers from DiClemente Siegel Design, Inc.; technology specialists from The Sextant Group; site/civil engineers and landscape architects from Hubbell, Roth and Clark; and structural engineers from Desai/Nasr Consulting Engineers. Collectively the team offers extraordinary expertise and experience to complete the new Michigan College of Optometry facility at Ferris State University.