Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to celebrate opening of downtown location Tuesday


After more than six years of planning and construction, the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will celebrate its grand opening Tuesday morning.

The opening ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the new downtown campus location at 955 Main Street. The $375 million project is the largest medical education building currently under construction in the U.S., according to Michael Cain, dean of the medical school. The move started in early November when more than 50 administrative offices began the first phase of the re-location. The building will be ready to welcome students to classes on Jan. 8 and the moving process will be complete in April.

HOK, the architectural firm that designed the building, was the finalist in a lengthy selection process that spanned five countries.

“From the start, we have been committed to creating a building that supports medical education for the 21st century and enriches the people who will live, learn and work within and around,” Cain said.

More than 27,000 locally made terra cotta panels give the building a distinctive appearance. Another key design component is the 15,000 square foot atrium. The atrium will invite “collaboration” and a “sense of community” among faculty, students and staff as they navigate around their new home, according to the medical school’s website.

The research laboratories, which are located on the third, fourth and fifth floors will feature “abundant natural light,” according to UB Now.

The sixth floor houses the Behling Simulation Center, where students from all the health sciences at UB will participate together in “interprofessional” patient simulations using the newest technologies. It also houses the Clinical Competency Center, where medical students can prepare for national competency exams with interactive scenarios featuring standardized patients.

The Gross Anatomy Lab, which uses advanced digital resources to analyze the human body, along with the traditional gross anatomy approach, is located on the seventh floor

The seventh floor also houses a new robotics suite, a surgical skills suite, the Structural Sciences Learning Center, which combines pathology and imaging to create “better predictive models” and a biomedical engineering collaborative space.

Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of campus planning, said the new location has a “student-oriented atmosphere.”

“The students will have a sense of home,” McAlonie said. “The campus celebrates UB and the city of Buffalo. The students are excited. I’m excited. Dean Cain is excited.”

Derek Spath, a second year medical student is “very excited” to start next semester downtown in the new school.

“A benefit is I will be close to the medical community,” Spath said. “It will all be easier, all in one place. I won’t have to go anywhere.”

Cain also emphasized the positive impact he feels the new location will have on the Buffalo economy.

“Many graduates will stay here [because] we will be training more physicians. A new

building, a new school will entice people to come here. This major transformation downtown will give us a competitive edge,” Cain said.

In September, The Spectrum reported some faculty members were concerned about parking at the new location. They felt they weren’t given enough information about how and where they would park.

More than 1,000 spaces were added to the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus parking garage ahead of the move to meet increased demand for parking. The campus was also intentionally placed close to the subway in order to make commuting easier.

“We collaborate with most to all of the schools on North Campus,” Cain said. “To be one train ride away from them will be beneficial to the students and faculty.”

Cain feels the new centralized location will bring a sense of unity to the medical school community.

“We are making the Medical School whole again,” Cain said. “We are very excited for the students and the moving process.”

Brandon Borzillire contributed reporting.

Maddy Fowler is the editorial editor and can be reached at maddy.fowler@ubspectrum.com.