With North Dakota experiencing a significant shortage in all health care-related fields, the State Legislative Assembly authorized North Dakota’s only medical school, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, to replace its aging facility with a new school in order to 1) increase enrollment by 25%, 2) attract and retain top-tier faculty and staff, 3) encourage inter-professional collaboration, 4) co-locate all eight medical, health sciences, and basic sciences in one building, and 5) retain more in-state graduates.
The new four-level, 318,000 sq.ft. School of Medicine and Health Sciences facility is now a shared, collaborative learning environment that provided the University with the opportunity to “re-think everything” about they way it delivered medical and health sciences education in order to develop a first-of-its-kind program. Each of the four floors features a Main Street — a wide corridor lined with flexible classrooms and labs. Anchoring the North and South ends of Main Street are pairs of Learning Communities, each serving 100 students from all eight disciplines. The eight Learning Communities contain team space, lockers, study carrels, workrooms, standardized patient environments, and a variety of seating. There is no library in the building, so the only dedicated quiet spaces are within the Communities. While the building itself is 24/7, the Main Floor is designed for public access and includes an auditorium, gathering spaces, a cafeteria, and a highly-detailed simulation center. Every space is designed with access to sunlight, including the anatomy classroom — unusual in medical education. This project was completed in conjunction with Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects.