Case Study

The Van Andel Institute

Project Overview:

The Van Andel Institute (VAI) was founded in 1996 with a vision to enrich and enhance lives through biomedical research and education. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the VAI’s headquarters was designed to be build in two phases. Harris Communications was contacted for solutions on both phases of the building’s construction. This headquarters is home to scientists, students, and administrative employees, so reliable cellular reception is vital to everyday work.

grand rapids michigan
medical researcher using a cell phone

Unique Problems:

The VAI’s building was designed by famed architect Rafel Vintoy with many unique design elements and benefits. These include enormous windows, large amounts of open space, a demonstration lab, an interactive discovery wall, and more. While these features enhance the experience of people working in and visiting the facility, they can actually detract from cellular reception. Harris Communications was called in to ensure the entire building had reliable coverage.


During Phase I of construction, we designed and installed a multi-carrier distributed antenna system (DAS) in that section of the building. To ensure this unique building was fully covered, we extended that DAS into Phase II of the construction process. We also added Nextel in addition to providing in-building coverage with Verizon and AT&T.  This solution guarantees that the building will be covered and the system won’t need updates for a long time.

medical samples in a centrifuge


With Harris Communications’ help, the Van Andel Institute was able to open both phases of their research center with full cellular coverage, despite the unique design features of the building.

The Van Andel Institute is a state of the art research facility. Such a facility 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 of the Van Andel Institute.

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