Originally a psychiatric hospital, this 36,000-sf facility was completely renovated to create the country's most advanced mortuary science teaching and research facility. The program, founded in 1939, is the only mortuary science program in Michigan and one of only five university-affiliated mortuary science programs in the entire country.
The $5.7-million Mortuary Science Building accommodates administrative offices for the department and specialized teaching environments for all three WSU mortuary science programs--general funeral services, pathologists' assistants, and forensic investigations.
The first floor contains two small classrooms, the student lounge, a museum, and library as well as the receiving and equipment areas. The second floor plastination, anatomy, and embalming laboratories are controlled environments serving as specialized teaching tools.
The third floor features the administrative offices and a dark room, as well as the research histology, chemistry, restorative arts, and microbiology laboratories. The fourth floor houses the 100-seat, tiered lecture room, a computer lab, a small conference room, and space for future program expansion.
A portion of the roof was raised to allow for the fourth floor lecture hall and a stairwell was added to meet the egress code. The main mechanical systems serve two buildings, which include three constant volume induced dilution exhaust fans, a custom roof top air handling unit, and an air cooled chiller.
Due to the location of the Mortuary Science Building and the need for privacy from the surrounding businesses, a garage equipped with a special exhaust system was designed to receive vehicles. Movable carts allow for flexible transportation from the garage to the 60-body capacity storage cooler located on the second floor.
The anatomy lab has a 20-body capacity while the embalming lab is equipped with five embalming stations and two down draft tables plus an isolation laboratory. Each station has a movable height adjustable gurney table equipped with a special over-the-table exhaust system directing fumes toward the large exhaust wall duct linked to the main exhaust system. The table locks into a 900-pound dissection sink containing a disposal for waste removal along with a water and compressed air spray gun. The ceilings, walls, and floors in the labs are covered with epoxy for easy cleaning.
Similar to a small lecture hall, a student viewing area adjoins the down draft table which serves as the focal point in the isolation room.
The building accommodates a high-tech telecommunications infrastructure for video conferencing allowing the mortuary science department to provide lectures and demonstrations throughout the United States and in overseas hospitals where European funeral directors train.