Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center today announced plans for a new medical education building for its School of Medicine. Funding for this $50 million capital project is part of a larger capital campaign that will be publicly launched next summer.
The medical education building will be located in the former 60 series R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company complex, adjacent to 525@vine in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Construction will begin immediately with plans to be ready to welcome medical students in July 2016.
The medical education building is Wake Forest Baptist’s most significant capital improvement project reliant upon philanthropy in decades.
“Wake Forest School of Medicine’s presence in Winston-Salem is a tribute to philanthropy,” said Wake Forest Baptist’s Chief Executive Officer, John D. McConnell, M.D., “and we owe our thanks to leaders like James A. Gray and Bowman Gray whose example continues to inspire us. Building upon that legacy, we embark upon this exciting component for the School, which is also contingent upon philanthropic leadership. We continue to look to our partners who have helped make an investment in the health of the community, the economic base of downtown Winston-Salem and the future of medicine and innovation in biomedical science and information technology in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.
“Hand in hand with our philanthropic efforts, the Medical Center is fortunate in that Building 60-3 is a historic property, which qualifies the project for Historic, New Markets and State Mill tax credits,” McConnell added. “These tax credits significantly lower the cost of this project and make it possible, but because those tax credits sunset on Dec. 31, 2014, timing is crucial. That is why we are starting immediately.”
The timing of the opening of the medical education building will coincide with Wake Forest Baptist introducing one of the most advanced medical school curriculums in the country, and will allow medical students to prepare for real-life experiences in the most modern of settings available for clinics and exam rooms, complete with the new informatics and technologies commonly used in patient care today.
In addition to training in the most advanced environments for outpatient clinics, medical students and faculty will learn in small group learning spaces, an anatomy lab, clinical skills labs and patient simulation suites, while support services including a student lounge, kitchen, faculty offices and meeting spaces will enhance student life and mentoring opportunities.
Wake Forest School of Medicine Dean Edward Abraham, M.D., said the time has come to create a medical training facility that matches the school’s reputation as providing one of the highest quality programs in the country.
“Our medical school’s present facilities have been the training ground for our students since 1969. They have served us well, but our model of patient care has dramatically changed since then. Medicine has fast-forwarded to the digital age with computer-guided imaging and surgical procedures, lasers instead of scalpels and electronic medical records that allow patients to look up their medical test results, speak to their doctors and make appointments from their laptops and cell phones,” Abraham said.
“We will soon be introducing a leading-edge medical education curriculum that will prepare our highly qualified students to become outstanding physicians, and thus we must have the appropriate facilities to accommodate current learning and teaching styles and space to grow.”
The Medical Center’s fundraising effort for the project has already begun, according to James W. Johnston, chair of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Campaign Cabinet.
“Our volunteers and community leaders are enthusiastic about this significant philanthropic endeavor, which will sustain and grow the incredible legacy of medical education at Wake Forest School of Medicine,” Johnston said.
The 168,000 square-foot building will be developed in partnership with Wake Forest Baptist’s Innovation Quarter partner, Wexford Science + Technology, LLC, a BioMed Realty Company. “Wexford is honored and excited to be in a position to continue to expand Wake Forest Innovation Quarter through the development of a new training facility for Wake Forest School of Medicine,” said Daniel Cramer, Wexford’s senior vice president of development. “The introduction of this prestigious institution into the Innovation Quarter is further validation that it is one of the top knowledge-based communities in the U.S.”
The new medical education building adds to the growing synergy among the city’s academic institutions and supports technological collaboration, entrepreneurial opportunities and community involvement as well as social, economic and professional growth to its residents.
President, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Chief Innovation Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Eric Tomlinson, D.Sc., Ph.D., said, “The addition of Wake Forest Baptist’s medical education program to the rapidly expanding Innovation Quarter marks a further milestone in our development as a leading hub for innovation in biomedical science and information technology with an emphasis on research, education, business and product development. The vibrancy of the growing student base here demands the Innovation Quarter be ready for their presence with opportunities for further learning, accommodation and recreation. We will be ready.”