Inside, the institution’s Mid Campus Building 1 — 1MC for short — is a warm, bright and colorful space with an indoor-outdoor café and large, well-equipped meeting and conference rooms on the lower floors.
The $350 million, 25-story building features an open-office style. Most employees work in cubicles, but each floor has a classroom and several rooms that can be closed off for meetings. The break rooms have impressive views of the Texas Medical Center and beyond.
Open spaces meant for collaboration
There are minor downsides to the open-office style, admits Brad Gibson, associate vice president and treasurer in the Department of Treasury Services and Operations. “It can sometimes get noisy because of the open cubicles and the occasional fire alarm tests,” he says. “It’s an adjustment for those who’ve worked in closed offices, but it’s going well.”
When the move is complete, Gibson will have all eight of his departments in 1MC — 300 people on five floors — instead of spread out in various leased places.
He’s pleased with the new space. “Having our departments and groups close will allow us to be more collaborative and efficient,” he says. “And I like being more connected with my staff. People stop me in the hallway to talk.”
Lawrence Kubacak, project director for facilities management in Capital Planning and Management, says it was a dream of John Mendelsohn, M.D., past president of MD Anderson, to gather employees from leased spaces into a single MD Anderson facility.
The moves were planned with military precision, depending on lease expirations. “Construction was tight,” he says. “Every day was critical — we had no fluff.”
So far, about 1,100 employees have moved. The building will eventually hold 4,200 when all employees are moved in by October 2014.
Gibson recalls the weekend in late June when Payroll and Tax Services moved. “That department has specialized equipment — a check printer, a safe, special bank connections. And 18,500 people were counting on us for their payroll,” he laughs.
Did you know?
The new space housing Gibson’s group is more secure than the leased buildings employees formerly occupied. “Life safety” issues taken into account were provisions for fire, storms and hurricanes, which not only protect people, but also sensitive patient and financial data.