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Banners, website provide closer look at medical school construction progress

This is one of the banners that was installed at Main and High streets identifying the site as the future home of the UB medical school.

By ELLEN GOLDBAUM

Published July 6, 2015

Multimedia
Click to play video

This time-lapse video from thousands of still and video images taken by UB photographer Douglas Levere showing construction progress to date.

Passersby in downtown Buffalo curious about the veritable beehive of construction activity at Main and High streets will wonder no longer.

Banners identifying the site as the future home of UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were installed last week. Designed by University Communications and fabricated and installed by Ace Flag, they bear a full-color rendering of the new building designed by the architect, New York-based HOK.

The banners include brief descriptions of exciting things to come within the new building: “Top medical students will be educated here.” “Your future physician will train here.” “Medical discoveries will be made here.”

They also promote a new website that will provide detailed information as the new medical school takes shape. Current features include a construction timeline and a gallery of images, as well as a live, minute-by-minute webcam feed taken from a camera on the roof of Buffalo General Medical Center, one of the UB medical school’s partner hospitals. The website links to the school’s main website.

University Communications also developed a time-lapse video from thousands of still and video images taken by UB photographer Douglas Levere showing construction progress to date.

“UB is building the largest medical education building under construction in the nation so we want everyone who passes by to know what will be happening here and how it will benefit Western New York,” says Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school.

The banners include brief descriptions of exciting things to come within the new medical school building, such as “Top medical students will be educated here.” Photo: Douglas Levere

“We are very excited about the new website and webcam, which allow us to share this dramatic moment in the history of the UB medical school with our friends and alumni throughout the world, as well as our students, faculty, staff and partners in Western New York.”

The eight-story building, set to open in 2017, is the largest individual construction project in UB’s 167-year history.

Enhancing health care and economic development in Western New York

The downtown facility is expected to generate immediate and long-term economic benefits for Buffalo. It will allow the university to achieve crucial components of its UB 2020 strategic plan, which includes creating a world-class medical school that will attract outstanding researchers, students, clinicians and physician-scientists.

Once open, the school will bring 2,000 UB faculty, staff and students downtown daily, a sea change that will increase the population density in the heart of the city while providing opportunities for retail and housing development, incubators, research parks and other economic development opportunities.

A key factor in the decision to move the medical school downtown was the ability to expand the number of physicians UB educates, Cain says. The new building will increase each class of physicians to 180 from 140, addressing local and national physician shortages.

In addition to growing enrollment, the medical school also is hiring as faculty members top physician-scientists from clinical specialties that the region has needed but lacked, and who are bringing with them medical training programs in important, new fields.

Together, faculty, students and medical residents will benefit from the enhanced academic health center, which will allow UB and its hospital partners to work together to transform Buffalo into a destination for the best medical research, education and patient care.

Locating the new medical school on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) will facilitate collaborations among these highly regarded researchers and educators, and their colleagues at partner institutions, including UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center, the Kaleida Health-Gates Vascular Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and Buffalo General Medical Center.

Construction progress

The installation of the banners coincides with a construction milestone. Steel construction, nearly complete on floors 1-3, likely will begin later this month on floors 4-8, pending the arrival of a 280-foot tower crane. Installation of the tower crane will require the dismantling of the crawler crane that is now on site.

Later this year, installation of concrete floor will begin, followed by the building’s exterior envelope in early 2016.

At 628,000 square feet, the new UB medical school is the nation’s largest building under construction that is dedicated to medical education, according to a list of medical school projects compiled by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The $375 million medical school is funded by private philanthropy and state support, including funding provided by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo through the NYSUNY 2020 legislation.  

The new medical school will allow the university to achieve crucial components of its UB 2020 strategic plan, including creating a world-class medical school that will attract outstanding researchers, students, clinicians and physician-scientists, transforming Western New York into a major destination for innovative medical care, medical education and research.

The new medical school will be near two other UB research facilities on the BNMC: the Research Institute on Addictions and UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.