Campus News

Medical school construction is in the home stretch

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science building under construction, August 2017

Terra cotta panels give the outer shell of the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences a distinctive, clay-colored skin. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published September 11, 2017

The cranes are long gone from the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. So is the industrial elevator, or “buck hoist,” that carried workers up and down the outside of the building. Nearly all 27,000-plus locally produced terra cotta panels that give the building’s outer shell a distinctive, clay-colored skin have been installed.

UB logo and signage going up on the side of the JSMBS building.

The UB logo is installed on the side of the building. Photo: Douglas Levere

And a critical milestone took place in August when the silver Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences sign and the 800-pound locally custom-fabricated aluminum UB logo were lifted by crane 140 feet and installed at the top of the building. At nighttime, the sign illuminates.

With faculty and staff preparing to move into the new building later this fall, crews are focused on the final stretch of work on what has been the largest medical education building under construction in the U.S.

Focus on the atrium

Interior photo of the atrium area of the JSMBS

Numerous skylights allow light to pour into the atrium. Photo: Douglas Levere

Inside, the massive six-story scaffolding structure has been removed, revealing the building’s vast, light-filled atrium. With the scaffolding gone, the function of the atrium — measuring 15,000 square feet on the second floor — is now clear: It will invite collaboration and a sense of community among faculty, students and staff as they navigate around their new home. Six internal bridges provide shortcuts across the atrium on five floors.

Workers are busily completing specific projects during the last punch list (odds and ends) phase of construction, such as installation of wood paneling in the atrium and the laying of porcelain floor tiles. Room number signs are going up soon, and wayfinding signage is in production.

The building’s signature light tower, which will span two stories at the Main-High Street entrance and be visible from the street, is nearly done. In the classrooms, IT and audiovisual equipment is being installed.

Signature light tower in the atrium in the JSMBS

The signature light tower spans two stories at the Main-High Street entrance and is visible from the street. Photo: Douglas Levere

Natural light for labs

Floors three, four and five, which contain research laboratories, are just about finished. These lab spaces feature abundant natural light, similar to the labs in the Clinical and Translational Research Center just up the street.

The sixth and seventh floors are nearly completed. The sixth floor houses the Behling Simulation Center, where students from all the health sciences at UB will participate together in interprofessional patient simulations using state-of-the-art technologies. It also houses the Clinical Competency Center, where UB medical students prepare for national competency exams with real-world interactive scenarios featuring standardized patients. This floor also is home to the dean’s suite, the Office of Resource Management, the Office of Communications and the offices of several senior associate deans.

Interior photograph of construction underway inside the JSMBS

The atrium will invite collaboration and foster a sense of community among faculty, students and staff as they navigate around their new home. Photo: Douglas Levere

The seventh floor is home to the Gross Anatomy suite, one of the highlights of the new building, which uses advanced digital resources to analyze the human body, along with the traditional gross-anatomy approach.

The seventh floor also houses:

  • A new robotics suite, where students will learn to use robotics in surgery.
  • The surgical skills suite for training physicians and residents.
  • The Structural Sciences Learning Center, focused on combining pathology and imaging to create better predictive models.
  • A biomedical engineering collaborative space.

On the eighth floor, the building’s mechanical systems stand ready to support and sustain the myriad medical education and research activities that are about to take place on the floors below.

“The completion of each item in this final punch-list phase of construction brings the medical school, the university and the Western New York community closer to a new era in medical education, research and clinical care,” said Michael Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.