BioMedical Research Facility updates

June 2019

Facility on track for early 2020 groundbreaking

The BioMedical Research Facility (BMRF) project is on track for groundbreaking to take place in February 2020, this after a short pause reported a few months ago.

The Project Team has started working with a new architectural firm who has provided an assessment that is aligned with budgets and there is a plan to go to tender for construction by the end of the 2019 calendar year.

New final designs for the BMRF provide for a slightly larger space which maintains all the original functions, including holding, procedure and program space.

The new design has also addressed some concerns that were previously raised by faculty and staff. Moving forward, the closure of the Siebens Drake walkway will not be required for the entirety of the Facility construction; faculty and staff can expect some limited closures. The new Facility will also have two access points for researchers being supported by a link from the West Valley Building and the Siebens Drake walkway.

While there will be an impact on parking space during construction, access to the dental clinics will be maintained as will accessible parking spaces for visitors with disabilities. Plans are being developed by central administration and will be shared as soon as they are available.

A critical task connected to the new Facility will be the development of new standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the Project Team is currently focused on developing SOPs to support all the work in the facility.

Beginning in September, the Project Team will be providing monthly updates on the BMRF to all faculty and staff. Watch for articles featured in the monthly e-newsletter, The Pulse.

If you have any questions about the Facility, please contact Kem Rogers, PhD, Chair, Construction Oversight Committee or Jane Rylett, PhD, Associate Dean and Director, Animal Research.


February 2019

Planning for the new BioMedical Research Facility is continuing and progress has been made on the foundational steps required in advance of groundbreaking and the commencement of construction.

During the fall months, the schematic designs of the floor plates were completed, including the holding, testing, procedure and administrative spaces. As well, all the Working Groups, who have been focused on key aspects of the new facility including health status, surgery and procedure space and behavioural testing space, have completed their work for the most part. Some work remains to be completed by the health status working group.

We are grateful to all the members of the Working Groups who provided their time, and insight and feedback throughout this planning process. Please know that the university remains committed to this project.

We recently received an outline of projected costs for the building and these currently exceed our budget by a significant amount. As a result, we decided to temporarily suspend the project to review our options in moving the project forward. We ask for your patience as we work toward bringing the project within budget.

If you have any questions about this project, please don’t hesitate to contact Kem Rogers or Jane Rylett by email.

Once again we would like to thank all the members of the Working Groups.

Behavioural Working Group

Brian Allman
Marco Prado
Melissa Pickering
Nicole Girotti
Shawn Whitehead
Steven Laviolette
Susanne Schmid
Timothy Bussey

Health Status Working Group

Cheryle Seguin
Christopher Pin
David Hess
Frank Beier
Greg Dekaban
Melissa Pickering
Nicole Girotti
Rodney Dekoter
Steven Kerfoot
Vania Prado
Sara Gatchell
Emily Truscott

Surgery and Procedure Working Group

Arthur Brown
Cheryle Seguin
Dale Laird
Don Welsh
Melissa Pickering
Nicole Girotti
Qingping Feng
Robert Gros
Sean Cregan
Silvia Penuela
Emily Truscott


September 2018

The BioMedical Research Facility planning group has been meeting regularly during the past five months with a team of architects and engineers to develop a schematic design for the new BioMedical Research Facility (formerly called Vivarium in communications). The size and shape of the building is now known and the room layouts are being finalized.

Currently, we are consulting with the working groups to ensure that the room layouts will accommodate the equipment that will be located there. We are also verifying a number of aspects of the design against all applicable legislative requirements. Once these steps are complete, the architects and engineers will be moving forward with the detailed design in preparation for a spring 2019 tendering. At that point, no further design changes will be considered.

The current design will require the demolition of a portion of the skyway linking the Dental Sciences Building and the Siebens Drake Research Institute. The skyway will not reopen until near the end of construction of the new building in 2021. Affected groups should make plans now to deal with the impact of this closure.

Parking spots available at Siebens Drake lot and the Dental Clinic will not be affected as a result of this building. We don't however know the full extent of the impact yet. Western University is working on a plan to accommodate parking needs at alternate locations.

Prior to starting construction of the new building, there are a number of site servicing issues that must be addressed. These include items such as the replacement of the Medical Sciences Building emergency generator, relocation of high voltage power distribution lines, sanitary and storm sewer upgrades, relocation of campus internet cabling and relocation of steam supply going to the Siebens Drake Research Institute. All of these projects will have varying impacts on access to the site beginning as early as this fall.

On behalf of the planning group, thank you to everyone who has participated and provided input in the process through town halls and the working groups.


June 2018

Planning is well underway for the Biomedical Research Facility. Design meetings will be taking place through the summer and fall months and it is anticipated that construction will begin in the spring or early summer of 2019 with an anticipated occupancy date of summer 2021.

The proposed site is adjacent to the east end of the Siebens Drake Research Institute (SDRI). Connectivity to the groups who will access the new building is a key requirement of the project and this location allows for connectivity to existing buildings via two routes, one through the bridge linking SDRI to the Dental Sciences Building and the other through a new link to the West Valley Building.

Working groups have been established to address key aspects of the new facility including health status, surgery and procedure space, and behavioural testing space. These groups are also actively engaged in the design process.


May 2018

A new animal housing and care facility is being constructed at Western University, with the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry managing the overall planning and construction.

The new building project is being undertaken as the existing facilities are no longer able to meet the needs of researchers or regulatory standards. As part of a realignment of responsibility, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry will also assume oversight and management of animal care for investigators within these facilities.

Planning for the facility has been underway since the fall of 2016 and it is expected that the new facility will open in 2021.

HDR Architecture Associates along with the engineering firms Vanderwesten & Rutherford Associates and HH-Angus have been selected for the project and the design phase is already underway.

Several working groups comprised of researchers, Animal Care and Veterinary Services staff and Schulich Medicine & Dentistry staff are actively engaged with providing input on building programming, with completion of the design anticipated in early 2019.

No buildings are being demolished or renovated to support the development of this new facility. Assessment of the potential building site is underway, with this likely to be located between the Siebens Drake Building and West Valley Building. It will be approximately 50,000 gross square feet, of which approximately 50 per cent is net assignable space, including support, housing and procedure space.

An information session is scheduled for June 6 at 1:00 pm in Room 282, Medical Sciences Building to provide an update to the research community and to seek additional input. In the meantime, comments and questions should be directed to either Dr. Jane Rylett or Kevin Inchley.