Construction at UTHSC Changing Campus Profile; Drawing Community Attention

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Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, center, describes the vision for improvements to campus to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, in back. Chancellor Steve Schwab, in front, and Dr. Brown hosted Mayor Strickland on a campus tour so he could learn about the construction that is changing the face of the campus. (Photo by Thurman Hobson/UTHSC)

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is moving into the next phase of unprecedented construction that is changing the campus. And because UTHSC is an economic driver in the community, the improvements are drawing notice.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland toured the campus last week to learn about the exciting evolution.

Hosted by Chancellor Steve J. Schwab, MD, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, the mayor walked around the Historic Quadrangle at the center of campus, the site of a $70 million renovation set to begin late this spring.

The mayor learned about the new $36.7 million Interprofessional Simulation and Patient Safety Center, which will open in late summer and allow students from the six colleges at UTSHC to train together in simulation settings. And he heard about the planned addition to the Dunn Dental Building that will expand the educational, clinical and research capacity of the College of Dentistry.

“We’re in an evolutionary phase we haven’t seen in the university’s 100-year history,” Dr. Brown said.

When the 36-month quadrangle renovation is completed, the Crowe Building will become the new home of the College of Nursing, the Mooney Library will house administrative offices and a refectory or gathering space for the campus, and the Nash Building and Nash Annex will have the latest in basic science laboratory space.

The new dental building, funded with $39 million from the state legislature and $7 million from Delta Dental of Tennessee, will wrap around the existing building, fronting on Union Avenue and adding a new light-filled façade to the structure.

Other improvements in the works include $30 million in energy upgrades, and $20 million in security upgrades, including more cameras on campus, a new home for Campus Police, and an emergency operations center.

Work on the $16 million Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems at 208 South Dudley Street on the eastern edge of campus is nearing completion.

As part of the initial phase of construction, approximately $5 million was spent to demolish unused buildings, and the university constructed and opened the $49 million Translational Science Research Building that brought state-of-the-art, bench-to-bedside laboratory space to campus.

Future projects on the horizon for the campus are a new home for the College of Medicine in the empty hotel space at the intersection of Pauline and Madison, a biotech research park in vacant land fronting on Madison, a possible $200 million Women and Infants Pavilion, and a public-private housing venture on 10 acres on the western edge of campus to be leased to a developer by the university for apartments and residential use.

Mayor Strickland said he was pleased to learn about the growth on campus and to see the university at the center of collaboration that is improving the Memphis Medical District.

Dr. Brown said he was excited to host the mayor for the brief tour.

“We extend that invitation to all citizens of Memphis to come and visit the campus and be a part of our evolution,” he said.