Medical Research Center Michigan Case Study
23 January 2014 - 0:49, by , in Case Studies, No comments


We completed a commercial cellular repeater solution for The Van Andel Institute (VAI).  Founded in 1996, the vision was  an institute that would have an impact world-wide in enriching and enhancing lives through biomedical research and education. Since its grand opening in 2000, VAI has supported Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) in fulfilling and sustaining this vision.

VARI has reflected this vision through remarkable strides in basic and translational research. This research has led to advances in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, and the establishment of an excellent reputation among peer institutions. Through its work with students of all ages, VAEI has built a regional and national reputation as a source of well-reasoned, carefully documented and trustworthy insights regarding the ways in which we teach and learn science.


Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Van Andel Institute’s building was designed by famed architect Rafael Vintoy to be constructed in two phases; the first phase was completed in 2000 and Phase II opened in December 2009. Harris Communications has implemented a solution for Phase I as well as Phase II.  The building is set into a steep hill at the beginning of Grand Rapids’ “Medical Mile” and is home to scientists, students and administrative employees.

The facility has many unique design elements and benefits, including:

  • Windows and glass roof structures that cascade down both sides of the building provide abundant natural light, even to several laboratories; the flow of the glass roof structures evoke the rapids of the nearby Grand River
  • Open spaces and layout foster random encounters and the free exchange of ideas among employees working in different areas
  • Demonstration lab for visitors to view research in progress
  • Interactive discovery wall for visitors to learn about the Institute’s history, milestones, and impact
  • Library with research journals, computer access, fireplace, and comfortable seating

In some cases, the attributes of a building can actually detract from the cellular reception.  There is also a question of topography in relation to the cellular towers.  Harris Communications conducts site surveys to determine what factors are contributing to the lack of cell phone reception.  This also allows us to design a more precise and guaranteed wireless solution.


Harris Communications recently completed the 2nd and final phase of the commercial cellular project for the Van Andel Cancer Institute.  This facility’s 2nd phase is a Leed Certified building and we extended our 1st phase multi-carrier distributed antenna system (DAS) into it adding Nextel in addition to providing  in-building coverage with Verizon and AT&T.

A state of the art research facility that is LEED certified would not be as celebrated if it lacked adequate cellular signal throughout the building.  Harris Communications is proud to have been a contributor to the success of Phase I and Phase II for the Van Andel Cancer Research Center.


Contact Harris Communications today if you would like more information about how to improve wireless technology for your facility.

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