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UB unveils design for new medical school

Natural light illuminating through a six-story glass atrium.

A “coatless” second-floor bridge connecting to adjacent medical buildings.

A surgical simulation room, a new metro station and pedestrian passageway linking Allen Street to the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Those are just some of the features from the dramatic designs unveiled today for the University at Buffalo’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences planned for Main and High streets by 2016.

“What’s on the horizon is more than a new era for our medical school and a major new milestone for the university,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi said in a prepared statement. “It’s the opportunity to be part of shaping a bold new era of progress, discovery and promise for our city and our region.”

The new school will cost $375 million.

UB officials and designers from HOK, the international firm selected to design the new medical school, displayed models and renderings of the building for reporters today in the fifth-floor atrium of its Clinical and Translational Research Center, 875 Ellicott St.

The new medical school – which will comprise more than a half-million square feet – will be one of the largest buildings constructed in Buffalo in decades, bringing some 2,000 faculty, staff and students to the medical campus, UB officials said.

“Today, we get our first exciting glimpse at what that future will look like,” Tripathi said. “A medical school with such a profound impact needs a truly world-class design, and HOK has clearly delivered just that.”

The seven-story, steel-framed building is shaped like two Ls joined by a six-story atrium that’s naturally illuminated by skylights and glass walls along Washington Street and the terminus of Allen Street.

The first two floors of the environmentally friendly building will be more accessible to the public, housing educational and community rooms for the medical school’s outreach programs and public health initiatives, UB said.

A second-floor bridge will provide “coatless” access to the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and the Conventus medical office building under construction along High Street.

Floors three through five will feature research facilities and state-of-the-art labs. The sixth floor will include a simulation center, where medical students can perform surgeries in a simulated operating room. The seventh floor will house facilities for gross anatomy.

Administrative offices will be dispersed throughout floors three through seven.

The new school will also incorporate a new Allen/Medical Campus Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Metro station.

But one thing you won’t find in the new medical school is a new cafeteria or dining facility.

“We intentionally did not plan for these retail establishments within the building,” said Laura Hubbard, UB’s vice president for finance and administration. “The design is intentionally encouraging people to go out into the community to purchase food and other items. The university hopes this will provide a significant economic development benefit to the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Groundbreaking is scheduled for this fall.