A new building for a new era

Portrayed above the new medical buiding, a state of the art facility for the health sciences.
Photos by Daniel Yun/ The Dakota Student

Daniel Yun

Portrayed above the new medical buiding, a state of the art facility for the health sciences. Photos by Daniel Yun/ The Dakota Student

UND School Of Medicine and Health Sciences nears completion 

The new UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) building is now 99% complete after just three years. The entire process started in May 2013 when the 63rd Assembly of the North Dakota Legislature approved funding for $124 million dollars to build the new 352,000-square-foot Medical building.

The design effort was lead by JLG Architects partnering with Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects, while the execution was left to construction managers PCL Construction/Community Contractors.

The new building is essential not only for UND students, but also for our state due to UND having provided education for more than 40 percent of North Dakota’s doctors and for 20 percent of the American Indian doctors in the United States. It is also our only medical school in the entire state.

Located at the intersection of North Columbia Road and Gateway Drive, the new building is four stories high and includes the latest technology including smart classrooms and is divided into wings; administration/teachers offices, lab sciences, classrooms, and a 17,000 square-foot Simulation Center. The state-of-the-art Simulation Center on the 1st level contains 5 simulation suites, 14 standardized patient exam rooms, 5 debriefing rooms, and a clinical studies lab, all for student use. It even includes an ambulance bay and an outdoor staging space meant to re-create real life situations to better train medical professionals for their future careers. For the laboratory sciences there is a gross anatomy lab with 22 workstations, designed to provide a hands on learning environment for students. The lab also features small differences, like TV monitors around the room, not just the front, so students can always see the samples and displays.

Additionally for the first time, the facility will be able to incorporate all of the medical school’s departments under one roof, including the basic sciences as well as MD/PhD programs. Basic sciences include: Anatomy and Cell Biology; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Microbiology and Immunology; Pharmacology; Physiology and Therapeutics. Additionally, all of the classrooms are state-of-the-art and feature the components of a smart classroom, discussion tables, TV monitors and all.

Chloe Hnatko, a Junior Forensic Science major at UND, says she is excited to have classes that don’t make you feel like you are one little fish in a big sea .“I am excited to be in hands-on classes in smaller groups, I think that is really important in the field of science.”

Hnatko is also excited about the labs.

“I am really excited to see how the labs are because it will be a great learning opportunity and experience for students with all the fancy technology.”

There are various learning communities that are designed to be a “home base” to 100 students from all disciplines of the SMHS. The reason they are mixed is because in the real world, a health care professional will work with different health care professionals in the same environment. Each community offers both individual and group study spaces. The learning communities were designed to incorporate a large amount of natural light to better accommodate students. There are 8 total, 4 on the 3rd floor and 4 on the 4th floor.

Another new feature is a Satellite Vivarium and Behavior Core facility. This is a stand-alone animal housing facility and will be the only animal behavior lab on campus, so it is quite a unique space.

A wonderful thing about the new building is that it is built to accommodate everybody.

For all of the Physical Therapy students (but also OT and MD), the building contains a large plinth lab on the 3rd floor. It contains 27 plinth stations to demonstrate/practice evaluation and treatment techniques. Access to the space will be available o students after hours if they so wish.

For Occupational Therapy there is a multi-purpose therapy lab that contains fully simulated home environments, including kitchen/living spaces, a bedroom, and a bathroom. These simulated environments help instructors better train students in the rehabilitation of daily living. The multipurpose lab will also serve multiple other programs at the college, including PT, MD, and physician assistant.

If you by chance want to name the new UND School of Medicine and Health sciences, you can do so, for $100 Million or, if you are running low on cash, you can name a small study area for a smaller fee of $50,000.

The new medical building is state-of-the-art, has great features that tend to all health science majors as well as faculty and staff, and is a beautiful addition to the UND campus.

Journey Gontjes is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reaches at [email protected]