Tucson-area company is putting employees first with new facility | Business

Swiss drug giant Roche has invested millions of dollars expanding its Oro Valley campus to meet demand for its medical diagnostics, and now its employees have a place of their own.

Roche Tissue Diagnostics this week unveiled the latest phase of its campus transformation – the Employee Forum, a two-story, 45,000-square-foot building that features a conference center, an expansive cafeteria with rotating local restaurant fare, a gym, wellness center and meeting rooms.

On Tuesday, company and civic leaders joined hundreds of Roche employees in the cavernous conference center to cut the ribbon on the building, which was five years in the planning.

Jill German, who leads the site as president of Roche’s Tissue Diagnostics, said the new building was badly needed to connect employees on the sprawling campus and was designed based on feedback from Roche’s roughly 1,800 employees.






After cutting the ribbon, Jill German, president of Roche Tissue Diagnostics, welcomes employees into the new Employee Forum building.


“We needed a place that people could gather in, people could connect in and be creative in, and at the same time, they voiced desires around health and wellness, and frankly that became even more pronounced during the pandemic,” German said.

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The new building’s 2,500-square-foot fitness center is open to employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week and includes a large weight room, glass-walled rooms for instructor-led fitness classes, lockers and showers.

Next door, a wellness center includes a lab to process blood samples and two exam rooms to conduct physicals or receive shots and vaccinations, staffed by a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner and medical assistant.

Besides the 4,000-square-foot cafeteria with free coffee, the Employee Forum has a separate coffee bar near the entrance and the publicly accessible “Innovation Center,” which features interactive demonstrations of Roche’s tissue diagnostics platforms including several lab instruments.






Feedback from Roche’s roughly 1,800 employees guided the design. Jill German, president of Roche Tissue Diagnostics, says the building was badly needed to connect employees on the sprawling campus.


For business collaborations, the Employee Forum has eight conference rooms of various sizes, and the main cafeteria can seat up to 500 people for events.

Roche, which has steadily expanded its campus on East Innovation Park Drive since the company acquired the former Ventana Medical Systems nearly 15 years ago, is looking forward to opening a new 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building in Marana by the end of the year.

The new building will host Roche’s instrument manufacturing operation, while the Oro Valley campus will remain home to research and development and manufacturing of reagents – chemicals used in diagnostic tests, German said.






Employees gather in the main dining area after a ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Employee Forum building at Roche Tissue Diagnostics, 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive, in Oro Valley.


Mamta Popat, Arizona Daily Star


Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 520-573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz

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