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UB med school faculty to move in October; classes to start downtown in January

University at Buffalo's medical students will take their first classes in the new $375 million downtown medical school a year from now.

The first classes taught in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences' building on Main Street will be in the 2018 spring semester that starts next January.

The first sign of moving will come this fall when faculty and staff begin moving into the 628,000-square-foot medical school still under construction at Main and High streets. That move is expected to start in October and will coincide with an increase in the number of students and faculty at the school.

The timetable was laid out by Dr. Michael Cain, dean of the medical school and UB's vice president for health sciences, during his annual state-of-the-school address late Tuesday for the medical school, according to his remarks provided by university officials.

Construction crews continue to dominate the inside and outside of the medical school. It's also where the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority recently completed a $4.4 million interior reconstruction of what is known as the Allen-Medical Campus Metro Rail Station tying directly into the base of the medical school.

When fully complete, the Jacobs medical school interior will feature a seven-story glass atrium. Its exterior showcases terra cotta and a glass rainscreen facade that is well under way.

When faculty settle into their new home later this year, the entire medical school is expected to be completely finished, UB officials said Wednesday. Furniture is expected to be installed over five months, likely beginning this May.

The university's large-scale downtown presence will align medical education, research and clinical care with the region's hospitals and research partners. Beyond teaching space, the medical school will feature state-of-the-art laboratory space, research areas and sky-bridge connectors to adjacent hospitals and research facilities.

The new eight-story medical school contains a 178 percent increase in educational space, Cain said, over what the university has available in buildings on its South Campus, about six miles away on the Amherst town border. The university also has continued to revamp its medical school curriculum.

The move to the downtown campus returns the medical school to its historic roots, when it was located on High Street from 1893 until 1953, before moving to university's South Campus.

When ground was first broken on the eight-story medical school on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in fall 2013, the university had eyed a fall 2016 opening date for the milestone project.

Paralleling the expanded educational space is a larger incoming medical school class, up by 25 percent for this fall, putting that class's enrollment at 180 students. That increase was previously projected by the university.

The number of full-time medical school faculty is expected to grow to 860 by 2020, up from 778 faculty members in December 2015. The university has sought to attract top faculty from across the nation.

At last year's address, Cain cited faculty numbers since 2011 showing a steady rise:

2011-12: 688

2012-13: 712

2013-14: 748

2014-15: 768

2015-16: 778 as of Dec. 2015.

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