As all of Buffalo has been observing the Children’s Hospital’s move from Bryant to the Medical Campus, another significant move has also been underway. On October 31, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences began its “smooth move” to the Medical Campus. The move of one of UB’s schools to Allentown is a dream that countless Buffalonians have been praying for ever since the university began to invest in the swamp campus. The hope has been to see a heavier concentration of professors, students and classrooms in the heart of the city.
The initial move consists of 50 administrative offices that have packed up and begun moving their offices from UB’s South Campus to Allentown, in order to consolidate medical services, equipment, and personal. A second wave of moves will take place later this month.
According to a recent UB news release, the move is going as smoothly as possible. “It’s a thoughtfully coordinated move,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “We designed this move to take several months on purpose. “It’s a complex move and we can’t interrupt classes once they’ve started.”
In order to make things as painless as possible, students in the Class of 2021 began their studies at the South Campus, and will be heading into Allentown starting on January 8. Once again, this is the day that so many people have been waiting for – to see an energized Allentown, but hopefully not at the expense of the South Campus (and surrounding neighborhoods), which needs further investment from US and The City.
“Our number one priority is that the building be ready for students when classes start on Jan. 8,” said Alan J. Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum and professor of medicine in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
As we can all surmise, moving research labs is not an easy undertaking. Many of the biomedical science research labs will be heading to the upper floors of the new building. Much of the equipment is big and heavy, such as refrigerators, freezers and centrifuges, not to mention all of the smaller breakables.
“Moving research labs is a very challenging process, involving many different factors,” said Anthony A. Campagnari, PhD, senior associate dean for research and graduate biomedical education, and a professor of microbiology/immunology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “All research labs are not the same. There is often specialized, very expensive equipment that must be disassembled, packed, moved and reassembled by specific vendors to ensure proper functioning in the new lab and sometimes to maintain the warranty. Most labs also have a significant array of glassware and each piece must be individually wrapped,” he said. “All chemicals and reagents must be clearly labeled and any hazardous materials require specialized packaging and transport by authorized personnel such as UB’s Environmental Health and Safety staff.”
Aside from the bulk of the items, movers also have to account for various materials that are subject to temperature changes, such as microorganisms, some of which need to be maintained at cold temperatures (-80 degrees Celsius). “Of course, there is the additional issue of timing, as most of the research labs will have ongoing experiments that cannot just be stopped at some random point to move the lab,” Campagnari continued. “This whole complex process must be carefully coordinated with each individual researcher in order to minimize down time.”
According to Suzanne Laychock, PhD, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and facilities, professor of pharmacology and toxicology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and faculty liaison for all matters pertaining to the move, by breaking the move into phases, it allows for plenty of time to get everything right.
While most of the move will pertain to crucial lab items, there will be some more “sentimental” objects making the trip. For example, there is a baby grand piano in the Lippschutz Room on the South Campus that will be transferred to the Medical Campus.
“I refused to leave the piano behind,” said Laychock. “Some of our medical students and faculty are very accomplished musicians and they get a lot of enjoyment from it. Our monthly Music is Medicine lunchtime series in the school atrium will also benefit.”
So far, the few people that have made the move have expressed positive excitement. “It is a really spectacular building, lots of natural light everywhere, and easy to navigate,” said Nancy Nielsen, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for health policy in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Everything was delivered in good shape. The movers executed flawlessly with my packed boxes. My computer, printer and phone worked immediately. We need to thank the many, many folks who are making our momentous move possible.”