September 9, 2011

Wayne State University announces grand opening Sept. 16 of the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall

Ceremony signals completion of ambitious $76 million research facility

Wayne State University leaders will launch opening ceremonies for the A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall, 3 p.m., Friday, Sept. 16, at 5101 Cass Avenue, Detroit.

The new facility is the result of a comprehensive two-phase, $76 million expansion and renovation of the chemistry facility on Cass Avenue. A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap provided $10 million through a fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to support the expansion aspects of the project. Wayne State University contributed $66 million through the sale of general revenue bonds and other funds for the renovation of the existing building.

Phase One of the project, completed in 2006, encompassed the demolition and reconstruction of the building's interior, laboratories and lab-support spaces on the first through fourth floors in the north half of the facility. The 2006 phase also included the complete replacement of mechanical and electrical systems to support the north half of the building, and various improvements to address the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Phase Two established a Cass Avenue landmark - a building entrance and elevation characterized by a four-story glass-enclosed atrium designed primarily for chemistry department events. The expansion also features a new, 150-seat lecture hall equipped with high-tech audio-visual and teleconferencing capabilities, office space for administrative and student services support staff, and improved security with controlled access through the atrium.

Included in the final phase of construction was the complete interior demolition of the south half of the building and reconstructing laboratory and lab-support areas of approximately 96,000 square feet. Small private laboratories were replaced with larger, open floor plans, increasing the net square footage of space available for research. All lab casework and fume hoods were replaced, as were all mechanical and electrical secondary distribution systems.

An additional $1 million commitment from the Schaaps in 2011 and $2 million in University funds also allowed for the complete renovation of the Central Instrumentation Facility in the building's basement. The research core, now named the Lumigen Instrument Center, houses state-of-the-art scientific instruments for research in nanomaterials, drug delivery systems and novel molecules synthesized in Wayne State University laboratories. The renovation also updated the facility's infrastructure to support the highly technical equipment associated with this type of research.

The WSU Chemistry Department is among the top-ranked research and teaching programs in the United States with outstanding faculty and graduate scholars.

Throughout the project's design and construction, emphasis was placed on ensuring at least a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating through high energy and environmental performance. LEED, a certificate program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, offers points for buildings meeting standards in sustainable building design and construction.

The expansion achieves design objectives in both safety and environmental sustainability, allowing the university to make a long-term investment in safe translational research and energy conservation. One of the energy-saving features is the sloped "green" roof, which reduces energy costs by maintaining a cooler building during warm summers.

"The A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall offers a home for the chemistry department that will meet the needs of our students, faculty and staff well into the future," said Robert Thomas, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "The resources offered through this facility reflect the core mission of providing an excellent education to our students, conducting research that impacts society, and attracting top faculty and doctoral students. We are grateful to Paul and Carol Schaap for their foresight and generosity that has significantly contributed to the success of this project."

About A. Paul Schaap

Schaap, who retired from the university in 2000 to become the full-time president of Lumigen, Inc., has maintained strong ties to the university. His bond with Wayne State began more than 30 years ago when he was hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. His wife, Carol, was secretary to the chemistry chair; she later was secretary to then-President David Adamany until 1990. During his tenure in the chemistry department, Schaap and his research team developed a novel luminescent compound called a 1,2-dioxetane that can be triggered to produce light in medical tests, called immunoassays, to provide evidence of certain diseases in patients. The discovery of an efficient light-emitting molecule in mid-1986 evolved into a compound that is used worldwide to diagnose AIDS, cancer, hepatitis and other diseases. In 1987 this discovery led Schaap to found Lumigen, now the world's largest supplier of chemiluminescent reagents to the clinical immunodiagnostics market. Lumigen was recently acquired by Beckman Coulter.

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Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.


Tom Reynolds
Phone: (313) 577-8093

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