The University at Buffalo medical school is starting to move into its new digs on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Eight moving trucks recently began to haul boxes of files, equipment and other materials from more than 50 offices on UB's South Campus to the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Main and Allen streets, where construction is 99 percent complete.
The $375 million university medical school is expected to be a major advance for UB's expanding medical program when classes begin there in January.
The eight-story, 628,000-square-feet building – which incorporates a Metro Rail station – will replace medical school classrooms and laboratories on UB's South Campus, where the school has been based since 1953. It includes an advanced surgical simulation center for students to hone their operating skills in a robotic surgery site. It also will have clinical training areas for general patient care that are designed to look like hospital rooms, an obstetric delivery room, an emergency trauma center and other patient care facilities.
The building, which was designed by architects at HOK, is wrapped in nearly 28,000 locally made terra cotta panels.
The building's downtown location puts it in close proximity to its clinical and research partners, including Buffalo General Medical Center, John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, Gates Vascular Institute and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Most of the materials being moved now are administrative and related to senior associate deans, admissions and graduate medical education, said UB spokeswoman Ellen Goldbaum.
The first major movement of medical school staff and supplies started about a week before the planned opening on Friday of the John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, a short distance away.
UB administrative staff, including Dr. Michael E. Cain, dean and vice president for health sciences, are part of the first phase of the move.
The New York State University Construction Fund granted a temporary certificate of occupancy in early October, and staff and administrators are expected to begin working inside the new medical school soon.
The building is mostly now complete, though some final punch list items are still being done, Goldbaum said.
Final work includes data wiring and furniture coordination and installation.
"As the job goes toward the end, there are finishing stages and things change, technology evolves," said William J. Mahoney, vice president of LPCiminelli, general contractor of the project.
The bulk of what’s being moved now includes files, office equipment and computers, phones and some pieces of furniture, but many offices are getting new furniture. Lab equipment will be moved later this fall, Goldbaum said.
On the exterior, workers are installing the last of terra cotta panels on the building's east wing and finishing metal panels along a canopy section that extends over the sidewalks around the perimeter of the medical school.
Work on a one-block tunnel through the medical school that will extend pedestrian traffic from Allen Street to Washington Street is wrapping up, as well. "We're finishing all the metal panels on the roof of the walkway," Mahoney said. He expects that work to wind down by late November. "It's really coming along nice."
Meanwhile, makeshift pedestrian crossings and temporary dividing posts along Main Street used to shift traffic lanes during the school's construction were fully removed last weekend.
Story topics: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus