MU announces construction of $42.5 million medical building

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COLUMBIA - MU broke ground Thursday on an MU School of Medicine expansion project.

As part of the project, MU will construct the Patient-Centered Care Learning Center, a $42.5 million medical education building. In addition, MU will partner with Mercy and CoxHealth to open a new MU clinical campus in Springfield, where medical students can begin training in 2016.

"This project will provide more than 300 additional physicians for Missouri, add more than $390 million annually to the state's economy and create 3,500 new jobs," University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe said in an MU School of Medicine statement.

MU Health officials said $12 million will come from state appropriations and $30.5 million will come from revenue bonds.

MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said part of the reason for these additions to the medical school is to address a lack of physicians in the state.

"This university produces great doctors who stay in Missouri," Loftin said.

The MU School of Medicine will also expand to add 32 additional medical students to MU every year beginning in August 2017.

"We increased our medical class size, and so more Missouri citizens will have the opportunity to go to medical school," Weldon Webb, associate dean for Springfield Clinical Campus implementation, said. "And, it will provide a quality education for the clinical years either here in Columbia or in Springfield."

Webb said this project is a cost-effective way to expand enrollment because MU doesn't have to recreate clinical facilities.

"To build a new medical school is around $500 or $600 million dollars a year, so it's a real bargain for the citizens of the state," Webb said. 

The Patient-Centered Care Learning Center is scheduled to open in 2017.