University Hospital

For many years before World War I plans for increasing the hospital facilities of the University had been discussed. It was not until 1917, however, that the legislature made a first appropriation for the new building, in the amount of $350,000. Two years later a second appropriation of $700,000 brought the total to $1,050,000, although $35,000 of this amount was set aside for an additional unit to the Homeopathic Hospital.

At first it was planned to construct the new hospital in units or sections, costing about $350,000 each, as the money was appropriated, but this did not prove feasible. Entrance of the United States into World War I delayed the progress of the building, but in May, 1919, plans were submitted by the architect, Albert Kahn, of Detroit, and were accepted by the Regents. The sum of $59,320 was set aside by the Regents in June, 1919, to cover the cost of the land required for the site, on Ann Street directly across from the Observatory. In the fall of that year contracts for the construction of the exterior shell of the building were let, with the expectation of completing the building through later appropriations on the part of the legislature. Thompson-Starrett Company held the contract for the work in masonry, cut stone, structural steel parts, and the rough carpentry; the University Department of Buildings and Grounds had charge of the heating, ventilating, plumbing, and electrical work.

In addition to the funds already provided the legislature had appropriated an additional $540,644 to complete existing contracts. Progress on the new building continued through 1920 and 1921, and in the fall of the latter year the first part of the construction was completed. No further funds were available at that time, however, and work was stopped. In 1923 the legislature made another appropriation of $2,300,000 to complete the hospital, the final cost of which was $3,395,961.

Construction of the building was resumed in the fall of 1923, with Professor John F. Shepard appointed Supervisor of Plans early in 1924, to work with the architect and contractors. Dr. Christopher G. Parnell, Director of the Hospital from 1918 to 1924, had also worked with the architect in the fundamental planning of the building. In June and July of 1924 bids were received, and the major contracts let for the completion of the building. From that time work progressed rapidly until patients were moved from the old Hospital to the new building early in August, 1925.

The gross floor area of the Hospital comprises 434,445 square feet. The main building is 460 feet over-all from east to west and 400 feet from north to south, when the Neuropsychiatric Institute is included.

With the completion of the building Michigan had a Hospital worthy of the state and of the University, adequate for the needs of the people and for the training of medical students and nurses. The Hospital, built on the system of regularly spaced piers, is of fireproof construction throughout and contains two miles of corridors and ten acres of floor space. At the present time it provides 744 beds. It was estimated that of the total cost of the building more than $400,000 was spent for equipment.

In general design the building, constructed of light sand-colored brick with stone trimmings, is in the shape of a double Y, with the lower ends forming the main corridors and the upper angles of the Y forming the wards at either end.

Directly in front of the building is a three-story administration building, constructed entirely of Indiana limestone, while to the rear is the surgical wing, with the Neuropsychiatric Institute, completed in 1939, just beyond. All of these sections are connected by corridors to the main Hospital, so that they really form integral parts of it. This unusual design provides maximum light and air for all the rooms and wards on the nine floors of the Hospital. Of these nine stories all are completely or in part available for patients. Floors below the first level are used for services such as kitchens, stores, dining rooms, cafeterias, and clothes storage.

On the roof are a recreation center and school department for crippled children and a poliomyelitis Respirator Center. The surgical wing contains a pathological museum, two amphitheaters, bacteriological, clinical, and serology laboratories, a library, eleven operating rooms, and ninety-two private rooms for patients. In the main part of the Hospital there are 652 beds including ten wards of eighteen beds each. The remainder are in smaller ward and semi-private accommodations. Adjacent to each ward and forming the ends of the two Y's are attractively furnished sun rooms.

The sixth floor provides facilities for treating 95 children. The fifth floor is reserved for treatment of neurological, neurosurgical, medical, and eye diseases. Men's and women's surgery for the most part occupies the third floor. The fourth floor is devoted to treatment of orthopedic, urologic, and ear afflictions. The second floor is devoted to internal medicine and metabolic diseases. The X-ray department occupies about 100,000 square feet on the ground floor and has complete facilities for diagnosis. Treatment facilities are quartered in the Alice Crocker Lloyd Radiation Therapy Center Unit. One of the large amphitheaters is equipped with a special device by means of which 200 students may hear a patient's heart sounds at the same time. All departments of the hospital and clinics are connected with a central record room where histories of the patients are filed.

The Administration Building, which forms the main entrance to the Hospital, contains on the second floor the general offices, including those of the Director, Dr. A. C. Kerlikowske, the Associate Director, Dr. Roger B. Nelson, and other administrative personnel. On the same floor are the hospital personnel office, and the administrative offices for the Dietetic and Nursing departments. Just below, on the first floor, are the general admission and financial and business offices of the Hospital. The third floor is occupied by the Social Service Department as well as by the medical and financial statistical section.

In 1931 two additional stories were added to the main section of the Hospital under a 1929 appropriation of $250,000 from the legislature, to which $28,000 was added by the state and the University. These two floors, which added 98 beds to the capacity of the Hospital, are devoted to the care and treatment of tuberculosis. Incorporated in the addition were a light therapy room and a number of laboratories. This addition formed the final link in the chain of treatment of pulmonary diseases in Michigan, providing students with an adequate teaching laboratory. Altogether it added 35,787 square feet to the Hospital.

Sources: The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey; Walter A. Donnelly, Wilfred B. Shaw, and Ruth W. Gjelsness, editors; Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, 1958