WU School of Medicine Breaks Ground on New Health & Safety Facility

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WUSM - Health & Safety Facility

The Washington University School of Medicine has broken ground on a new facility for its Environmental Health and Safety Department. The two-story building located on McKinley Avenue will process hazardous medical waste, and include testing facilities and offices.

The new facility, designed by HKW Architects, will be connected via a tunnel to the under-construction McKinley Research Building. McKinley Avenue between Taylor and the Olin Residence Hall turnaround, will be closed through the end of September. The new building covers roughly have the distance from an existing building to the west to Taylor Avenue to the east, leaving room for further development along Taylor.

WUSM - Health & Safety Facility

The WUSM Environmental Health and Safety building is a small part of an overall medical campus building boom led by WUMS, BJC Healthcare/St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. BJC is investing nearly $1B in a campus renovation project that includes substantial new parking facilities, and will eventually include the replacement of Queeny Tower.

{WUSM McKinley Research Building}

{St. Louis College of Pharmacy project at Taylor and Parkview}

{Children’s Hospital project rendering – view from Kingshighway at Children’s Place}

{rendering of Kingshighway facades of Barnes-Jewish and Children’s Hospitals}

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  • moe

    Debbie Downer here. I’m sorry but the Safety Building looks very boring to me. No different than big box retail, except that retail would at least be open in the evenings. Perhaps BJC can start staggering some of their work otherwise there’s going to be large swaths of land empty after 5 pm and on weekends.
    I do like the CofP though.

    • Mike F

      That’s what is so weird about the whole CORTEX plan: you have BJC/Wash U. planning auto-centric spaces left and right, razing buildings to add to the already-massive Barnes/Jewish Hospital-Washington School of Medicine Parking Structure Rec-Plex, and CORTEX and its plans to erect a 24/7 residential and commercial neighborhood. At this point, I’m seeing the BJC/Wash U. ideal winning. And the parking accommodations for IKEA, and the project at the old FederalMogul site (which seems to be dead anyway; no news is bad news) don’t help.

      • Alex Ihnen

        Midtown Station is moving ahead – expect we’ll hear something soon. But you’re right, IKEA is the biggest Cortex move, and it’s a big box store with 1,200 surface parking spaces. It’s OK to like an IKEA in the city, but it’s not an anchor for an innovation district.

      • tpekren

        No doubt BJC/Wash U is incorporating and or consolidating space into significant amount of structured parking. However, throw in the expanding SLCOP as well as this latest project and you got a significant amount of square footage being built on surface lots. I don’t see that happening anywhere in the city and as you noted CORTEX has great plans but so far the big win is retail with 1200 spot surface lot.
        .
        This building is about the pragamatic needs of operating such a large and diverse medical campus so I’m not getting worked up that it isn’t the best building out there. Because I think buildings like this, provide jobs, is also the reason you see continue success for CWE.

      • PhilS

        Cortex is pretty much BJC/WUSM – so the weirdness is not really a planning conflict, more of the result of staging the development over a larger area. They’re building the office/lab/clinical space with their funding before residential and commercial can pick up. The fault you are seeing is that maybe the distance between office/lab and residential/commercial are too far apart. Instead of a mix on each block it’s clear that west of Newstead is being reserved for future research growth. As much as I would love to see some commercial/restaurant space sandwiched in between the parking garages and the new construction along Taylor and the street (I think there’s enough of a setback for that) the overall Cortex/BJC/WUSM/SLU plan has already plotted out the zoning boundaries for the dev area.
        But there will be some additional rehab and revitalization thrown into the mix too. The old Shriner’s Hospital on Euclid between McKinley and Clayton is going to be rehabbed into student housing. That will place a bit of residential on the south and western end of the whole dev area.

    • Nathan Woodall

      I’m willing to give hospitals a bit more latitude. You’ve got lab and academic space, offices, treatment and surgical facilities, guest accommodation, and parking all rolled into one fairly compact area. Integrate use (or encourage street level activity) too much and pedestrian/car-ambulance conflicts are likely to intensify. I don’t mind additional street level activity costing me time in a car in the normal day to day, but I’d definitely mind if I was in the back of an ambulance with a medical emergency.
      The new ground floor spaces won’t get a lot of use after normal work hours, but at least the street presence is improved.

      • Alex Ihnen

        FWIW, all emergency and ambulance service is accessed via Kingshighway and there’s no plan for more street level activity there along the medical campus.

      • moe

        So the street presence is improved. That means we can all go ‘oh, look at that building and that one there’ as we drive through the neighborhood to go from dinner in the CWE to an after dinner drink in the Grove. Nothing but a big L-shaped dead zone in the middle of an up and coming area. How is this different than large swaths of downtown that have existed for decades and still do. They might as well roll up the sidewalks when the sun goes down. No, not very smart planning at all.

        • Alex Ihnen

          In general, I definitely agree. Comparing this medical campus with other places I’ve been – thinking specifically of Boston and Cleveland – it’s sorta average in terms of urbanism. Basically, medical campuses seem to mirror a city’s urbanism (no surprise). In Boston, city streets aren’t closed and other uses are integrated, or very nearby. In Cincinnati, it’s more of an office park feel, with standalone buildings, bad food service cafes, etc. BJC has leapt north of FP Ave, but hopefully won’t go much further, and hopefully not south across I-64. Although Cortex seems to be short of its potential, at least it’s filling in an area that has long been warehouses and light manufacturing, and not residential, or other mixed use.

          • Adam

            by “Boston and Cleveland” did you mean Boston and Cincinnati? How does Cleveland’s medical complex (Mayo Clinic?) compare?

        • PhilS

          Taylor is going to become even more of a dead zone when the new parking garage being built on Duncan (next to the Children’s Hosp staff parking garage) connects the other garages and the Metro garage with a pedestrian skywalk over Taylor.

  • tbatts666

    I hope it welcomes street life. It’s important that every area in cwe looks vibrant

  • Presbyterian

    I’m glad they’re planning lots of first floor glass facing McKinley. Some of the mid-century buildings on that block are pretty severe in the way they address the sidewalk. This new building, together with the research building, will do a lot to define McKinley as an urban space.

  • Michael C.

    More great progress for STL city. Love it!