BUFFALO, N.Y. – In downtown Buffalo today, the University
at Buffalo broke ground on a milestone project in the
university’s history and in the city’s efforts to
reinvent itself as a destination for world-class health care.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, UB’s new School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is being constructed on a site of
approximately two acres at Main and High streets on the Buffalo
Niagara Medical Campus. The medical school is returning to its
historic roots; it was located on High Street from 1893 until 1953,
when it moved to the UB South Campus.
The eight-story, 540,000-square-foot building is the first
project to be funded by a NYSUNY Challenge Grant provided by Gov.
Andrew M. Cuomo when he signed the NYSUNY 2020 bill into law in
“Today’s groundbreaking for a new medical school
here at the University at Buffalo is yet another demonstration of
the state’s commitment to revitalizing Western New York and
bringing Buffalo back stronger than ever before,” Cuomo said.
“The Western New York region is becoming one of the
nation’s premier locations for health and medical sciences,
and this new school will play a central role in bringing the best
and brightest medical students, teachers, researchers and doctors
here to Buffalo. In 2011, we launched the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge
Grant Program because we believed that universities like UB could
serve as a hub for job creation, economic growth and community
revitalization. With today’s groundbreaking, we are
continuing to see this vision become a reality.”
The medical school project is the largest individual
construction project in the university’s 167 years and is a
critical step in the UB 2020 plan to pursue research addressing
critical societal needs, provide students with transformative
educational experiences and further engage with local and global
With a new medical school, UB will hire 100 new medical faculty
members and grow the size of its medical school class from 140 to
180 students. This influx of new UB medical talent will provide the
region with access to additional clinical specialties and
state-of-the-art health care.
The new 21st century learning and research environments in the
new facility, in close proximity to health care partners on the
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), will greatly enhance
clinical education for UB medical students through state-of-the-art
research and simulation laboratories and through synergies with
BNMC health care partners. It will produce new research leading to
advances in medical treatments and technologies, and create
opportunities to grow the region’s emerging biomedical
“This groundbreaking is a pivotal moment for UB and our
region,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “The new
medical school embodies all the core elements of the UB 2020 vision
— advancing research and discovery that respond to the
critical issues we face in the 21st century world, preparing our
students to be global leaders in this world, and engaging even more
effectively with our broader communities.
“Moving the medical school downtown will help us realize
our university’s vision of excellence by advancing patient
care, creating new medical discoveries, providing a world-class
medical education and helping revitalize downtown
Tripathi added that the groundbreaking was made possible by the
generosity of the university’s many partners, including First
Niagara, which provided UB with a 0.85-acre parcel on the site.
“Today's groundbreaking marks an exciting moment in SUNY's
history,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “The
UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will be a catalyst
for pioneering research activity and discovery, a destination for
students and faculty from throughout New York and around the world
who want to study, teach and practice medicine at the highest
level, and a safe haven that provides hope for patients.”
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean
of the UB medical school, said: “Today, we break ground for
much more than a new building. Today, we mark the start of a new
era for the medical school, for UB, for the City of Buffalo and
Western New York.
“Moving the medical school close to our hospital and
research partners on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus allows UB
to foster, for the first time in its history, a comprehensive
academic health center, creating a health care destination on par
with Pittsburgh, Cleveland and St. Louis. Our goal is to speed new
discoveries and knowledge, all for the goal of advancing health
Since Cain became dean in November 2006, the medical school has
hired 24 new department chairs and senior-level appointees, who
have, in turn, recruited new faculty members to UB.
“Many of these new hires are helping to fill some of the
region’s gaps in health care so patients in our community can
receive the care they need right here,” Cain added.
The building was designed by HOK, a global design, architecture,
engineering and planning firm. Community organizations, including
the Allentown Association and the Orchard Community Initiative, a
citizens group based in the Fruit Belt, provided significant
feedback and input on the design, and they will continue to be
involved in the project going forward.
Features of the building include a light-filled, seven-story
glass atrium that joins the building’s two L-shaped
structures and a terra-cotta and rainscreen façade. In
addition to state-of-the-art research laboratories and classrooms,
the new building will house advanced simulation centers for general
patient care and surgical and robotic surgery training.
The downtown medical school will be constructed on top of a new
Allen/Hospital Metro station, a detail that accentuates community
connections and promotes sustainable transportation options, which
will help the building’s targeted LEED gold designation.
The transit station and the building’s connecting bridges
to hospitals and other health care facilities will make navigating
the medical school to and from the BNMC partner institutions more
convenient and efficient. These physical connections will
underscore the powerful programmatic connections in clinical
education, patient care and research that will be tremendously
strengthened as a result of the medical school’s new location
on the BNMC.
The new medical school will bring an additional 2,000 faculty,
staff and students to downtown Buffalo, acting as a significant
generator of economic growth and opportunity as well as urban
For the design phase of the project, the State University
Construction Fund and UB have achieved 15 percent for
minority-owned business participation and 15 percent for
women-owned business participation. For the construction
management phase, 20 percent minority business participation and 10
percent women-owned business participation has been achieved.
The State University Construction Fund and UB will develop goals
for minority-owned and women-owned business participation in the
construction phase with the assistance of a minority- and
women-owned business enterprise (MWBE) outreach consultant, as has
been the case on all the university’s major building projects
in the recent past.
This consultant, retained by the State University Construction
Fund, will assist the university in developing bid packages that
help maximize MWBE participation and then monitor and report on
that participation after the contracts have been awarded. This
focus on MWBE participation is a key goal of New York State and
Gov. Cuomo. The university is strongly committed to MWBE
participation in all of its construction projects.
Gilbane LiRo Ventures is the construction manager. The
construction project will be put out to bid later this year.