The Kansas University Medical Center Builds New Health Education Building
The University of Kansas Medical Center ceremonially broke ground Thursday on a $75 million Health Education Building construction project. Leaders from the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, philanthropic donors and other dignitaries for the ceremony.
“The University of Kansas is home to the state’s only school of medicine, which means we are uniquely positioned to address Kansas’ critical shortage of healthcare professionals,” said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “This new building will enable us to increase the number of doctors we train, and to train them in the technologically advanced environment required by a modern health care curriculum. In other words, it positions KU to address the state’s doctor shortage head-on and build healthier Kansas communities.”
The 171,000-square-foot Health Education Building will facilitate the education of a greater number of physicians, nurses and allied health care professionals and address critical health care worker shortages in Kansas. Currently, 90 of the state’s 105 counties are medically underserved, and it is estimated that 30 percent of the current physician workforce will retire or otherwise leave their medical practices within the next decade. KU trains 211 medical students annually across all of its campuses in Kansas City, Kansas, Wichita and Salina. With the new Health Education Building in Kansas City and future expansion efforts in Wichita, the School of Medicine looks to increase its class size across all campuses by as many as 50 students.
The building will serve as the primary teaching facility for the KU schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions and will include significant simulation space and flexible, state-of-the-art learning space to support interprofessional education and other new models of teaching.
“This facility will change the way we educate and train physicians, nurses and other health care workers for Kansas,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center. “It will allow us to accelerate our university’s move toward a modern health education curriculum that emphasizes small group, interdisciplinary problem-solving and advanced patient simulation technology.”
The project is funded by $25 million in state bonds, $15 million from the University of Kansas Medical Center and private gifts raised through KU Endowment. Total private support raised to date from alumni and friends is $37.3 million, which includes a $25 million lead gift from the Hall Family Foundation, of Kansas City, Missouri. David and Marilyn Zamierowski, of Overland Park, Kansas, made a lead gift for simulation equipment and facilities that will be recognized as the Zamierowski Institute for Experiential Learning, with locations in the Health Education Building and Sudler Hall. Fundraising will continue during construction to meet anticipated increases in expenses related to technology and equipment for the building.
Helix, a Kansas City-based architecture firm, and CO Architects, a Los Angeles-based architecture firm, will serve as the design team on the project. The university has engaged McCown Gordon as the project’s general contractor. Construction will begin on the project in mid-September.