Wake Forest Baptist completes new medical education building

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - If you, your children, or even your children’s children happen to get sick, there’s a good chance that current medical school students will be the ones giving treatment. With the world of health care changing so rapidly, medical schools need to make sure they stay ahead of the curve; and ahead is exactly where the Wake Forest School of Medicine has positioned itself to be with the completion of their new Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education.

In a span of 18 months, and with $60 million spent (including $23 million worth of tax credits), the new facility sits in Wake Forest’s Innovation Quarter after a renovation of a former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company manufacturing plant.

“This building really sets the standard across the country,” said Edward Abraham, MD, Dean of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

The facility consists of five floors, “with spaces uniquely fitted for the medical student now and in the future,” the school said in a press release.

To ensure they were in line with current and future technological advances, administrators visited medical schools across the country.

“We really took what was great about those buildings and brought it here. In many cases we took it to the next level,” Abraham said.

To accommodate their “technologically savvy” students, the facility was designed to encourage interprofessional learning in flexible spaces, including classrooms both large and small, as well as dedicated study areas.

“It’s really remarkable. It’s nation-leading in terms of the configuration of this building,” Abraham added.

The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education connects via bridge to the fifth floor of the 525@vine building, which is home to Wake Forest Baptist’s Department of Physician Assistance Studies and its Nurse Anesthesia program.

“It’s really critical for us that this building provides the best in contemporary medical education, prepares our students to be great doctors now; but also has all the capabilities for the future, for classes coming in, in 10, 20 and 30 years,” Abraham said.

The school added that the center’s completion coincides with “Wake Forest School of Medicine introducing one of the most advanced medical school curricula in the country.”

The new school of medicine is encompassed in 168,000 square feet of space on the north side of the renovated former R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company complex. Next year, the university plans to introduce new undergraduate programs in biomedical sciences and engineering in 115,000 square feet on the south side of the building.

Wake Forest’s fire-year medical students, the class of 2020, will arrive next week for orientation and begin classes in the new building.