The Blueprint for Rural Health campaign to relocate the University of Kansas School of Medicine–Salina Campus to downtown Salina has surpassed $6.3 million of its $7.5 million goal.
This total includes a $2 million grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation received last week as the campaign’s largest gift.
“The silent phase of the campaign has gone exceedingly well,” said Tom Martin, executive director of the Salina Regional Health Foundation. “People are genuinely excited about this project and what it means to our community and the rural medically underserved areas of Kansas.
“But from my past experience, the final stages of a campaign are often the most challenging,” Martin said. “Our work is still cut out for us and we need donors to continue to step forward. I would envision that we will be working to meet our goal for some extended period of time.”
In May the Salina Regional Health Foundation purchased a former bank building at 138 N. Santa Fe Ave. to be the future home for the KU-Salina Campus and launched the $7.5 million Blueprint for Rural Health campaign to renovate, furnish and equip the building and create an endowment for its future maintenance.
Donnie Marrs with DMA Architects, Salina, is providing architectural services for the project. Bids will be opened August 25 for interior demolition and asbestos abatement at the bank facility. Interior demolition work will likely go through the end of the year. After a finalization of plans, reconstruction efforts are scheduled to start in the spring of 2017. Completion of the project is slated for June 2018 to greet the incoming class of 2022.
The new facility will provide 40,251 square feet of space, which more than doubles the current campus space in the Braddick Building at Salina Regional Health Center. The larger facility will better accommodate curriculum changes that call for more small group work and allow the possibility of current class sizes to expand from eight students per year to 16 students per year.
The KU–Salina Campus opened its doors in July 2011 with the mission of providing students a quality medical education in a rural setting with hope that they might one day practice in rural Kansas. The program remains the smallest four-year allopathic medical school in North America in respect to class size and community setting. Several graduates from the first two classes have indicated they plan to open a practice in rural Kansas after residency training is complete.
With construction underway for a new medical school campus in Kansas City and renovations underway at the medical school campus in Wichita, a new campus in Salina will allow it to remain competitive in the future.
“We want to continue to compete for the best and brightest students,” said William Cathcart-Rake, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine–Salina. “We believe we have the processes in place and have developed a unique learning environment that allows us to be competitive with any other medical school campus. However, we want to continue to offer facilities that reach that measure. A new, larger facility also allows us the opportunity for growth in the future.”
Gifts to the Blueprint for Rural Health campaign can be made through the Salina Regional Health Foundation or the KU Endowment Association. Pledges can be made over three years and are tax deductible. Contact Tom Martin for more information or to give through the Salina Regional Health Foundation by calling (785) 452-6088.