The decision to build a permanent home for the University of Houston College of Medicine here on campus was certainly an exciting and inspiring development for everyone involved with this important project. The UH System Board of Regents’ approval for a $65 million, four-story, 150,000-square-foot building on acreage across from MacGregor Park is yet another example of how seriously committed we are to establishing this medical school.
I have no doubt this will be a first-rate facility. Of course, there are still contracts to be negotiated, designs to be drawn up and the actual construction to be undertaken – all of which takes time. In the meantime, however, we are moving full-speed ahead with gaining LCME accreditation and the right to enroll our first class, which could begin as early as next year – a good two years before the building is operational.
Fortunately, we have planned for this eventuality and are preparing an interim site in the Health 2 building.
As you read this, we are busy finishing plans to build out facilities on the eighth and ninth floors that will serve as the temporary home for the medical school. The transformation will be impressive, to say the least.
For example, we are adding a gross anatomy lab and four student "society" rooms to the eighth floor, which also accommodates our faculty offices. The ninth floor complete build-out of more than 16,000 square feet will house faculty offices as well, but this is truly intended to be a student-centric space.
In addition to a clinical skills lab and practice patient examination rooms, group study rooms, and large, state of the art class rooms for team-based learning, we have included a student lounge and kitchen area as well as a wellness room and a mother’s room. The Office of Student Affairs, Admissions and Outreach will also be located on this floor in order to be readily accessible by the students.
We’ll be delighted to have our permanent building completed, but it’s reassuring to know that we won’t have to wait and can start offering classes as soon as we receive LCME approval.
We have launched a new radio series, called “Health Matters,” on KUHF-FM, the University’s station. The one-minute segments draw on the collected knowledge and experience of our College of Medicine faculty leadership to discuss health issues of general interest. Our first eight installments, which can now be accessed on the KUHF website, deal with such important topics as high blood pressure, migraines, the flu and depression. These "Health Matters" episodes offer a quick but engaging way to help you maintain your good health. I hope you find them instructive.
If you want additional information about the UH College of Medicine, please visit our website.
Stephen J. Spann, M.D., M.B.A.
College of Medicine