The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) campus of the future will have at least 15 new buildings to meet expanding academic, research, clinical care and support needs. It will also have improved pedestrian and bicycle routes, better traffic flow, more parking, well-designed green spaces and landscaping, prominent signage, 10 renovated buildings, and updated housing options.
The improvements are part of a Campus Master Plan designed to enhance UTHSC’s stature as an urban academic medical center and secure its spot as the nucleus of the evolution of the Memphis Medical Center district.
The plan was unveiled Oct. 27 during an open house for faculty, staff, students, the media and the community. The event to showcase the plan, the first major blueprint for growth of the university since the 1990s, drew more than 75 people including County Commission Chairman Justin Ford, Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris, City of Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer James Downing, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Gary Shorb, Regional One Health President and Chief Executive Officer Reginald Coopwood, and Memphis Bioworks Foundation President and Executive Director Steve Bares.
“There are few things more important to us at this particular point in time than the evolution of our Campus Master Plan,” Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer for UTHSC, said in welcoming the guests. Dr. Brown invited the community leaders and partners to join the discussion of the evolution of the Memphis Medical Center, as the master plan changes the face of the UTHSC campus at its center. “We believe this conversation will serve as the nucleus for all the conversations involving the development of the Memphis Medical District and the evolution of the UT-Baptist Research Park,” he said.
The plan, drawn by the award-winning architecture and design firm of Perkins + Will after more than a year of discussions with faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders, focuses on giving UTHSC’s urban campus a more clear sense of identity, showcasing existing and emerging research and clinical centers of excellence, strengthening use of Health Sciences Park as the campus heart or center, making campus open spaces useful and attractive, reinforcing strong pedestrian routes, and grouping like and complementary endeavors and colleges together for ease of access.
“The best academic medical centers around the country and around the world are attempting to create this incredibly rich mix of clinical care, academic instruction and research,” said Krisan Osterby, project manager with Perkins + Will. The emphasis will be on enhancing interdisciplinary cooperation, she said.
Some projects and improvements in the plan are funded and under way, and some will evolve over the next five years and beyond.
“We’re in the throes of in excess of $250 million in construction,” Dr. Brown told the gathering. This includes construction on the $49 million Translational Science Research Building, which is nearing completion; the $70 million renovation to buildings in the Historic Quadrangle, which will begin soon; the $6 million ongoing renovation of the Lamar Alexander Building and the UTHSC library; completion of the approximately $60 million Pharmacy Building; construction of the $24.1 million Multi-Disciplinary Simulation Building, which will begin soon, and the $15 million construction of the Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Systems, which will be UTHSC’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) pharmaceutical compounding facility, scheduled to begin by January 2015.
“We’re finishing up about $5 million in demolition,” Dr. Brown said, referring to the razing of three obsolete buildings on campus. “In Phase 2, we’ll evolve to another $200 million to $300 million in construction.” Phase 3 includes a $180 million Women’s and Infants’ Pavilion planned in conjunction with Regional One Health to provide state-of-the-art maternity, fetal and women’s health care.
Dr. Brown said infrastructure improvements are necessary at UTHSC to keep the 103-year-old university competitive in attracting the “best and brightest” students, faculty and researchers. The upgrades will increase UTHSC’s economic impact on the city and state, and better enable UTHSC to improve the long-term health of the community. With roughly 4,000 students and 2,138 full-time employees in the Memphis area, UTHSC’s annual economic impact is $2.7 billion statewide and $2.2 billion in Memphis. The university contributes 26,700 jobs across the state, including 21,878 jobs in Memphis.
“In five years, we’re going to all be talking about what a wonderful job we did, patting ourselves on the back about what we did to take this community into the next millennium, or we could all be looking at each other ashamed of ourselves for squandering the opportunity that we had,” Dr. Brown said. “We are looking to the former, as opposed to the latter.”
Among the 15 new buildings and structures outlined in the master plan are: a College of Medicine Building, a College of Health Professions Building, the Multi-Disciplinary Simulation Building, a second building for the College of Dentistry, the GMP facility for drug development and distribution, the Women’s and Infants’ Pavilion, two research buildings, an expanded recreation center, a primary care clinic, a transit and parking center and several parking decks.
Some buildings being renovated or upgraded include the Cancer Research Building with a build-out of the fourth floor; the Dunn Dental Building with multiple renovations for various clinical needs; and the Crowe Research Building, Mooney Building and Nash Research Building, three of the oldest structures on campus that make up the Historic Quadrangle. The Crowe Building will house the College of Nursing, the Mooney Building will serve as administrative and meeting space and house a faculty refectory, and the Nash Building will house state-of-the-art research space. In addition, two floors of the Pharmacy Building, which opened in 2011, are being finished out.
“The quality of the physical environment has a tremendous influence on the image of our institution, thus this comprehensive master plan will serve as a guide for shaping our campus in support of the university’s academic mission,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD.
A full draft of the UTHSC Campus Master Plan is available at: https://www.uthsc.edu/masterplan. To see a video of the presentation from the Campus Master Plan Open House, go to: https://hml.uthsc.edu/Play/1124. To watch a video montage of UTHSC from the past to the present: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vckjbHO5q8Y.