The UC Riverside campus continues to grow with two major new buildings dedicated to student health and training future physicians now open.
The campus opened the doors to the new School of Medicine building on Sept. 26 while the Student Health and Counseling Center celebrated its completion on Sept. 22.
The two projects are part of a major increase in construction activity this year expected to make a major impact in meeting student instruction, well-being, and other needs. Since 2013, the campus has spent almost $2 billion on capital projects. Much of that construction has come in the past five years, when $1.65 billion has been allocated.
Completed following two years of construction, the 95,478-square-foot School of Medicine Education Building II is a five-story building located next to the existing School of Medicine Education Building on the east side of campus that features state-of-the-art facilities that support modern medical education.
The concrete and brick structure with glass walls features administrative offices, lecture halls, classrooms, study space, student lounges, and other support space. It’s a major expansion for the school, allowing it to train more students and help meet the region’s demand for more physicians.
The new project is especially significant as the medical school celebrates its 10-year anniversary, said Dr. Deborah Deas, vice chancellor of health sciences and the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the UCR School of Medicine, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“Seeing the building progress from a dream to the reality in front of us mirrors the journey of the UC Riverside School of Medicine,” she said.
The other new campus building also focuses on health and well-being, specifically meeting the needs of the current student population.
The 39,450-square-foot, two-story Student Health and Counseling Center at the north side of campus brings together medical, mental health, and well-being services into one location and modern facility for the first time.
Student Health Services; Counseling and Psychological Services; Case Management Services; and the Student Well-being, Intervention, and Follow-up Team, or SWIFT, are now housed at the new building. The Well and Basic Needs also have satellite space at the new facility.
“The new building is really exciting for us because we’re thinking of this as a holistic healing space, really a place where students can come together and get information about how they can be healthy, live a healthy lifestyle, have mental wellness and well-being, and contribute to students' success while on campus,” said Denise Woods, associate vice chancellor of Health, Well-being and Safety.
A variety of services involving all aspects of student wellness are integrated into one seamless space, allowing for increased collaboration and easier access for students, she said.
The two projects are completed as two other major building projects are underway. The School of Business is building a new instructional and administrative building, with completion expected by fall 2024. Soon, the university will break ground on a second phase of the North District student residential complex. Other projects on the horizon include the first phase of OASIS, a clean technology park on University Avenue, and an additional general-needs classroom building to complement the Student Success Center, which opened to students three years ago.
In addition to instructional, residential and student-health needs, another recently completed project is aimed at enhancing campus beauty and honoring the region’s Native American tribes.
The Native American Landscape Garden was planted over the spring and summer in a 20,000-square-foot space in the upper HUB Plaza. It features a variety of trees, plants, and vegetation native to the region and its tribes and a circular gathering area that can be used for performances and classes.
The project is meant to be a place where the campus community can relax and enjoy the plants, learn about Indigenous history, and gather for classes and communal activities, said Campus Architect Jacqueline Norman.
“It gives a new level of importance and beauty to the HUB mall,” she said.