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Published December 13, 2013, 08:38 PM

Open house for UND med school design

UND unveiled more details Thursday on the design of its new medical school building, which is planned to focus on collaboration and efficiency.

By: Charley Haley, Grand Forks Herald

UND unveiled more details Thursday on the design of its new medical school building, which is planned to focus on collaboration and efficiency.

Joshua Wynne, vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, welcomed an audience of community members, local legislators and UND students and staff, saying the new school is designed to help better prepare UND students for current trends in improving health care.

The public meeting was held in the current UND medical school building, in which space “is more than maximally utilized,” Wynne said.

The new building, which will actually have less square-footage than the current building, will increase teaching, research and clinical space, Wynne said. Faculty and administrative space will be decreased, because that space in the current building is inefficient, he said.

Representatives from lead designer JLG Architects of Grand Forks and its national design partners, Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects, explained that the four-floor building will have an open, public corridor, which they called “a main street,” through its first two floors.

Areas of the school necessary to the public — like alumni services, community relations and student affairs — are arranged near the building’s entrance, while secure areas, such as those for research, are tucked farther into the building.

Efficiency

The design also heavily focuses on bringing natural light into the building, and the building is also designed to be energy efficient.

Parking was a priority in the design, Wynne said. Space for parking is part of the reason the building’s site was chosen at the southwest corner of the intersection of North Columbia Road and Gateway Drive.

There will also be a shuttle for students from the new medical school to the rest of campus, he said.

All spaces in the building, including classrooms, lounges or study rooms, are designed with the ideas of openness and collaboration, the designers said. For example, some classrooms will be able to be converted from small-group learning spaces to larger lecture halls.

Wynne said health care is moving toward a more collaborative approach, in efforts to reduce costs and improve quality of care.

“If you want to practice that way, you have to learn that way,” he said, reiterating that the new building will better prepare students.

Planning for the building is about half-finished, said Randy Eken, associate dean for administration and finance of medical school. The designers are just starting to transition from general design to planning specific rooms, he said.

UND officials expect to hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility in July 2014 and complete construction by July 2016.

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