COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri School of Medicine leaders said planning for expansion of medical school facilities in Springfield will mean a boost for the economy there. The MU School of Medicine is collaborating with Mercy Springfield Communities and CoxHealth to create new medical buildings in both Columbia and Springfield. The new medical education building at MU alone will cost $30 million dollars, and education facilities in Springfield and annual operational funding will require an additional $13 million dollars. Spokesman Rich Gleba said these funds would likely come from a combination of support from the state and private interests.
Associate Dean for Rural Health Weldon Webb said the expansion would have an enormous impact on the Missouri economy and for future medical students. "It's an extremely efficient way and cost-effective way of expanding a medical school that is the number one provider of practicing physicians in the state of Missouri," Webb said. "It's all about education and it's all about economic development."
Pre-med student Kanwel Haq said she has noticed flaws throughout the current medical building compared to the newer campus buildings like journalism or law. She said she believes the expansion is beneficial for the future of the school. "By the time I'm a medical student, I would definitely like there to be more opportunities for us, and more places like more classrooms, more study rooms and more resources for us in general," Haq said.
Webb said the expansion is especially beneficial for the medical students because the number of medical students will increase from 96 to 128 students annually. After their first and second years, the medical students will go to the second clinical campus in Springfield to have more clinical space during their third and fourth years.