Page 1                September 1999    

Owre, Millard, Lyon tumble down
Salary increases vary in AHC
Media Watch

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Owre, Millard, Lyon come tumbling down 

Demolition expected to be complete by mid October

The wrecking ball takes a chunk out of Lyon Laboratory on Aug. 15, the first day of demolition.  The crowd above assembled over the lunch hour to catch a glimpse of the destruction.
Photo by Richard Anderson

As the wrecking ball prepared to take its first swing at Lyon Laboratory on Aug. 16, dozens of people lined the opposite side of Washington Avenue to witness the spectacle.

It took several tries to do some damage. Within a few minutes the crowd was rewarded with a shower of bricks, glass, and debris that hit the pavement below with a resounding crash.

But there were sighs as well as cheers as the four-ton ball brought down more chunks of the outdated structure.

“Millard Hall has been like home to me,” says biochemistry professor Mary Dempsey, who first worked in the building as graduate student in 1956. Over the past 43 years, she has worked in both Millard and Lyon. For Dempsey, the buildings hold memories of old friends, such as her graduate advisor Paul Boyer, who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996, and faculty who have passed away.

After demolition of Lyon was completed in August, two cranes moved into the courtyard inside the complex to begin taking down Owre and Millard halls. That allowed reopening of an eastbound lane of Washington Avenue, which had been closed for two weeks. The lane was scheduled to be reopened by Sept. 7, the first day of the fall semester.

Demolition is expected to be completed by mid October. Meanwhile, vibration monitors have been installed at the site to measure the physical disturbance generated by the demolition, according to AHC Facilities Director Lorie Wederstrom. Dust monitors also were placed in the air intake systems of nearby buildings to measure air quality.

Some architectural elements will be preserved, including bronze dedication plaques and light pillars at the entrance of Owre. Removal of others, such as carved stonework over doorways and ornate window panels was too costly, Wederstrom said. Design motifs from the old building may be incorporated into the new building.
Digital photos, which are being taken daily to chronicle the demolition, are posted on the AHC web site,

The AHC Facilities Office has established a hotline, 626-4450, for questions about the demolition and how it will affect access to and work at the Academic Health Center. Selected questions, with answers provided by Wederstrom and others, are printed below.

Q: Will the bus stop in front of the Owre building be moved?
A: Although buses often stop in front of the Owre building, it is not a designated bus stop. Passengers may use the bus stops in front of Coffman Union or Weaver-Densford Hall.

Q: Will the handicapped ramp on the west side of Moos Tower be affected?
A: A temporary handicapped ramp has been constructed on the steps to Moos Plaza.

Q: Will classrooms in Jackson Hall be used during the demolition?
A: Yes, the rooms will be used. Efforts are being made to minimize disruption of classes; however, it’s inevitable that there will be some noise and inconvenience.

Q: Will salvaged materials be made available for purchase?
A: No, building materials are now the property of Bolander and Sons, the demolition contractors. Some bricks are being saved to create commemorative gifts for people who worked in the buildings.

Q: The Owre elevator no longer provides access to the Mayo Auditorium. Is there other access for handicapped persons?
A: The Mayo Auditorium will not be accessible to individuals who need to use an elevator. Access will be restored after the new building is completed.

Q: What are the work hours for the demolition crew?
A: Hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If necessary, hours may be extended.

Q: Will explosives be used to demolish the buildings?
A: No, all demolition work will be accomplished with the crane and wrecking ball, or manually with jackhammers and other tools.

Q: When will Jackson Auditorium be available for classroom use?
A: The auditorium, which seats 100 people, will be available for fall courses. It is equipped with a video projector, VCR, laptop hookup, PA system with wireless microphone, podium with microphone, and dual-slide projectors. It does not currently have a DVD player. The room is scheduled by the University Registrar’s Office, 624-3244.

Q: Will outdoor activities in Diehl Plaza be affected by OML demolition?
A: Outdoor activities (e.g. faculty picnics) may be disturbed by noise and dust.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the molecular and cellular biology building will be held on Oct. 28, which is “Beautiful U Day.”  For further information, visit the construction web site at
—Peggy Rinard


Salary increases vary in AHC

Bargaining unit employees at the U are expected to receive raises of 2.5 percent, retroactive to June 21, according to a two-year contract agreed to by union leaders. The terms call for union employees to receive a 3 percent increase next year. The contract calls for union employees to also receive step increases of 2 percent each year.

As the AHC Community News went to press, not all of the bargaining units had ratified the contract, which must also be approved by the Board of Regents. Approval is expected in September.

Meanwhile, Civil Service employees received a 2 percent increase beginning June 21 and are expected to receive an additional increase in January, according to Mary Jane Towle, a member of the Civil Service Committee.

For faculty and Professional and Administrative (P and A) staff within the AHC, administrative units received 3 percent of salaries paid through state operating funds to fund a merit compensation pool. AHC units are authorized to add up to 2 percent, if budgets allow. Salary increases are based on merit and are effective June 21.

Because a large number of faculty members are not compensated with state operating funds—about two-thirds in the Medical School are not, as well as many faculty in other AHC collegiate units—increases vary. Members of the Faculty Consultative Committee—who have expressed concern about how salary information is reported—are expected to discuss this issue in the fall.

Listed below are the average salary increases for faculty and P and A employees by school within the AHC based on current information:


Media Watch
 Ch. = Channel               Ch. 5  = KSTP 
 Ch. 2  = KTCA             Ch. 9  = KMSP
 Ch. 4  = WCCO-TV      Ch. 11 = KARE-11
 AP  = Associated Press 
 MPR  = Minnesota Public Radio
 UPI  = United Press International

Alan Hirsch, medicine, discussed varicose vein treatments in an Aug. 11 Star Tribune story. Jack Lake, gastroenterology, was quoted in an Aug. 11 Star Tribune story on living organ donation, which featured comments from John Najarian, surgery, in an accompanying article. This story first appeared on the front page of the Aug. 2 New York Times. Channel 11 quoted Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, pediatrics, in an Aug. 10 story about a patient with sickle cell anemia being treated with a bone marrow transplant. A new program designed by James Pacala, family practice/community health, that teaches medical students about HMOs was featured in the Aug. 7 Star Tribune and Aug. 8 Duluth News-Tribune. David Jacobs, public health, was quoted in the Aug. 6 New York Times regarding the decrease in deaths from cardiovascular disease since the 1950s. Appearing in an Aug. 7 “Today” (NBC) show story on living organ donation was Jeff Kahn, bioethics. Kristine Ensrud, medicine, commented in an Aug. 6 Rocky Mountain News (CO) article about testing bone density. Greg Plotnikoff, medicine, was featured in stories about SAMe—a dietary supplement some people claim cures depression—that ran in the Aug. 6 Pioneer Press and the July 21 Star Tribune. On Aug. 5, the life of C. Walton Lillehei was remembered by the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Ch. 2 and Ch. 17. Hanna Rubins, medicine, was featured in Aug. 5 Pioneer Press and Star Tribune articles concerning her finding that a drug that raises “good cholesterol” levels can reduce the risk of heart disease. L. Alan Sroufe, psychiatry, was quoted in an Aug. 4 USA Today story about the role parents play in a child’s development. Ed Haller, medicine, UMD, spoke about his recent trip to Russia to deliver medical supplies in a story that ran in the Aug. 4 Duluth News-Tribune. Catherine Niewoehner, medicine, was on Ch. 4  Aug. 3 discussing a new treatment for osteoporosis. Kent Wilson, otolaryngology, was quoted in an Aug. 3 Detroit (MI) Free Press article about his finding that a higher percentage of men snore in their sleep than women. On Aug. 3, New York Today featured Charles Nelson, neurology, in a story on the impact of music on infant brain development. Matt Putnam, orthopedic surgery, appeared on Ch. 4 and WCVB-TV (MA) Aug. 1 to discuss the case of Chuck Teigen, a North Dakota farmer who was treated at the U after a debilitating farm accident. The July 28 City Pages quoted Richard Bianco, AHC, in a story concerning animal rights protests at the U. Bianco discussed the same issue in the July 26 Star Tribune. Gareth Parry, neurology, was on Ch. 11 July 22 to talk about a new drug used to treat diabetes neuropathy. Steve Johnson, pharmacy, suggested that people clean out their medicine cabinets with more frequency in a story that ran in a number of newspapers across the nation, including the Sun Herald (FL), the Modesto (CA) Bee, and the Idaho Falls Post Register. In the July 21 Star Tribune, Jon Pryor, urologic surgery, Jeff Kahn, bioethics, Timothy Schacker, medicine, Theodore Nagel, obstetrics/gynecology, Laura Hoyt, children’s hospital, and Christopher De Jonge, reproductive medicine center, were featured in a story about helping men with HIV father children. Kahn also wrote an editorial about the ethical concerns related to the procedure. On Aug. 9, the Star Tribune published a letter written by David Lykken, psychology, arguing against Kahn’s claims. Edward Kaplan, pediatrics, was quoted in a July 20 Houston (TX) Chronicle story about trials for a new strep vaccine. Les Robison, cancer center, was interviewed for a July 20 Ch. 5 piece on NSP’s plans to erect new power lines in southern Minnesota. A bone marrow transplant for a boy with Franconi Anemia was the topic of discussion when John Wagner, pediatrics, appeared on Ch. 5 July 19. Russell Luepker, public health, spoke with WMNN-Radio, WCCO-Radio, MPR, and Ch. 9 July 19 to discuss his finding that Minneapolis schoolchildren are heavier and have higher blood pressure than children 10 years ago. Clifford Steer, medicine, was mentioned in a story concerning genome research that ran in the July 16 issue of Science magazine. Recent congressional debates over a patient’s bill of rights was the topic of a July 16 Star Tribune editorial written by Roger Feldman, health services research/policy. Ira Moscovice, health services research/policy, was featured in a story about the negative impact of Medicare cuts on services at rural hospitals that ran in the Star Tribune on July 15, and the Modesto (CA) Bee, Nando Times (NC) and Rock Hill (SC) Herald on July 16. Ch. 5 featured Stan Smith, family practice and community health, in a July 15 story on a geriatric home care program. Jeff Kahn, bioethics, was part of a July 14 Arizona Republic article on the ethical debate surrounding frozen embryos. On that same day, Kahn spoke with KVEN-Radio about helping people with HIV have babies. In the July 14 Star Tribune, William Thompson, radiology, and Michael Maddaus, surgery, were quoted in a story about the costs and benefits of new CT cancer scanning technology. Barbara Elliott, medicine, UMD, wrote a column on women and heart disease for the July 14 Duluth News-Tribune. Nearly 30 newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations nationwide on July 13 and 14 covered a study by Kristin Nichol, medicine, which found that a nasal spray vaccine helps prevent the flu. On July 7, Mark Herzberg, preventive sciences, received national newspaper and television coverage for his finding that CoEnzyme Q10 may help prevent gum disease and the loss of teeth. Chip Bolman, surgery, was quoted in July 7 Star Tribune and Pioneer Press articles on the death of C. Walton Lillehei. Lillehei’s death also received international attention on July 7 with stories appearing in Time, the New York Times, The Guardian/The Observer (London) and more than 20 other newspapers. On July 2 and 3, Mark Martell and Pat Redig, Raptor Center, discussed the proposed delisting of the bald eagle from the endangered species list with MPR, WCCO-Radio, Chs. 4 and 5, and the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. Redig also discussed the delisting on CNN, Good Morning America, and CBS This Morning July 2, and CBS Evening News July 1. From June 30 through July 2, the Fox News Channel ran a three-part series on the growing violence by some animal rights activists, which featured recent ALF raids on the U of M. Stephen Schondelmeyer, pharmacy, was quoted in a June 29 Wall Street Journal article concerning the cost of prescription drugs. Schondelmeyer also spoke about Medicare and prescription drug coverage on the Lehrer Hour June 28. A June 29 New York Times article on gene therapies for Amish and Mennonite children included comments from Clifford Steer, medicine. On June 26, nearly 20 national newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, featured William Payne, surgery, in stories about the new policies surrounding liver transplants. 

—Eric Zuccola

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