UC Riverside began construction Friday, Oct. 22 of a new School of Medicine building that will allow for growing class sizes and increasing the number of physicians trained in the underserved Inland Southern California.
Campus and community leaders celebrated the start of the project at a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site south of the existing School of Medicine Education on the east side of campus.
“This building will provide the much-needed space for our medical students, faculty and staff, and it provides a path for the expansion our medical school class,” said Dr. Deborah Deas, vice chancellor of health sciences and the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the UCR School of Medicine. “So much work has gone into the planning and design of this beautiful new building, and this event is a major milestone in the process.”
Several elected officials, faculty, students, staff, and community members attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Deas acknowledged the continued support and advocacy from legislative partners including state Senator Richard Roth and assemblymembers Jose Medina and Sabrina Cervantes.
Campus architect Jacqueline Norman said a new building can be transformative to the physical campus as well as to the education of the students who seek their own way to transform not only their lives but the lives of their community.
“When successful, architecture has the power to enrich every part of our lives and how we interact with and experience the world,” she said. “I am confident that this new education building will do just that. The building will be filled with natural daylight. The design will afford easy connections to the outdoors at each level of the building, fostering an atmosphere of health and wellness.”
Chancellor Kim Wilcox explained why buildings come to be made.
“We build buildings for shelter,” he said. “We build buildings also as places for people to assemble, for communities to come together. We also build buildings for worship. We build buildings for learning. We also build buildings as memorials or monuments. This new building will be all this — a place designed for others, not just in the medical school, to commune, learn, and think. It will inspire our futures.”
Construction is anticipated to be completed by summer 2023.
The School of Medicine’s Education Building II, or SOM Ed II, will have about 57,000 assignable square feet within 90,000 gross square feet. The design features an urban downtown theme that includes outdoor seating, terraces, and landscaping that will complement the existing buildings around it.
The five-level building is the School of Medicine’s largest expansion since it opened in 2013 and will allow the school to increase the number of students trained. The current class size of 125 will grow by an additional 80 to 125 students.
The project is the first building designed specifically for the school’s needs and features state-of-the-art learning facilities that support modern medical education. It includes lecture halls, classrooms, problem-based learning rooms, meeting rooms for student functions, study space, offices, and other support space.
The Regents of University of California approved the budget and design for the building in March. Hensel Phelps Construction/CO Architects, which completed the Multidisciplinary Research Building in 2019, was selected as the design/build team for the project.
Click here for a slideshow of photographs from the groundbreaking event.
Story by Imran Ghori and Iqbal Pittalwala