UM Health System wants to build $175M facility in Brighton

university-of-michigan-logoThe University of Michigan Health Systems’ plan to build a $175 million, 320,000-square-foot facility on Challis Road in Brighton is huge news.


You can read the document going before the UM Board of Regents for its approval on Thursday, Nov. 19, by clicking here.

Once approved by the regents, the project will need to get approval from the state; then, the project will go through the usual planning process with the City of Brighton.

UMHS locationThe University of Michigan purchased the 32.47 acres of land at Karl Greimel Drive and Challis Road in Brighton in 2008 for nearly $7 million.

The new medical facility will be called University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers Brighton Health Center South. That’s quite a mouthful for the project, kind of appropriate being that, once built, it will be among the largest medical developments in Livingston County.

St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital is 179,000 square feet in size, which makes the facility UMHS is looking to build about 80 percent larger. And the UMHS project is more than two-and-a-half times as large as the St. Joseph Mercy Woodland Health Center outpatient facility (96,000 square feet) and the Saint Joseph Mercy Woodland Cancer Center (30,000 square feet) combined.

And the UMHS project is more than five times larger than the 60,000-square-foot, $17 million outpatient medical center St. John Providence is building on Latson Road in Genoa Township.

But, looking eastward to Oakland County, the UMHS project shrinks. It’s about half the size of the new-ish St. John Providence Park development at I-96 and Beck Road in Novi. That campus includes a seven-story, 500,000-square-foot hospital building, which includes a Level 1 trauma center-designated emergency department; a 210,000-square-foot medical office building; and a 60,000-square-foot orthopedic and ambulatory surgical center.

The UMHS project is about a third the size of the Thai Summit America Corp. manufacturing plant in the McPherson Industrial Park in Howell, once Thai Summit’s latest expansion is complete.

The good news is that the UMHS project — which will include adult and pediatric specialty care, infusion, a comprehensive musculoskeletal center, sleep lab, ambulatory diagnostic and treatment center, radiation oncology, operating rooms, medical procedure unit, pharmacy, radiology, and lab  services — will be funded by UMHS resources.

roundabouts_front-201x300The project will also create about 125 on-site construction jobs.

I have one huge concern about the project, which is whether and what kind of accommodations will be made to the roads in the area to handle the increase in traffic. With the I-96 exit and entrance ramps, the shopping centers on either side of Grand River Avenue, the traffic signals, and sheer number of vehicles traveling the area, it’s generally difficult navigating through the mess. Adding a huge medical facility will worsen that, I am sure.

Maybe Livingston County will get another triple roundabout.

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Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.