The Wichita City Council approved a plan today that will move forward a project between Wichita State University and the University of Kansas to build a 471,000-square-foot health sciences center in the heart of downtown Wichita.
Council members agreed to sell or lease two tracts of land – at 214 S. Topeka (where the Wichita Transit Center, set to move to Delano, is currently located) and a parking lot at the southeast corner of Broadway and William.
With $205 million of the necessary $300 million raised for the project, construction on the Wichita Biomedical Campus is expected to start in early 2024 and be completed some time in 2026.
The campus will combine WSU’s College of Health Professions, WSU Tech’s Health Professions program and Wichita campuses of KU School of Medicine and KU School of Pharmacy into one location. There will be shared spaces for advanced laboratories, clinical research and technology.
Initially, about 3,000 students and 200 faculty and staff will be housed at the center, with opportunities for growth in existing and new programs.
The pooling of these collective health science and biomedical resources and experiences will result in remarkable opportunities for collaboration, innovation and research.
Once open, the Wichita Biomedical Campus will be nothing short of transformational for Wichita and the entire state in health care and health care education, says WSU President Dr. Rick Muma.
“In my career as a physician assistant, I learned and researched at one of the largest health science centers in the nation, The Texas Medical Center in Houston; and I experienced the breakthroughs and innovations that are borne from the proximity and energy fostered in that type of facility,” Muma said. “Pooling the collective resources and successes of Wichita State, WSU Tech and the University of Kansas will ultimately improve the way health care professionals are educated; and, in turn, improve patient outcomes for all Kansans.”
With the future health of Kansans in mind, the building will include state-of-the-art simulation centers and standardized patient exam rooms as well as modern learning facilities.
“This new facility, along with the combined strengths of the KU and Wichita State University professional health programs, means that future students will benefit from the latest technologies and teaching modalities,” said Dr. Robert D. Simari, executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center. “And as students from multiple health programs learn to interact with each other, it improves the effectiveness of interprofessional medical teams and, ultimately, improves the health of the patient.”
The Wichita Biomedical Campus will be one of the largest investments ever in downtown Wichita.
“Our commitment to downtown is no accident,” Muma says. “If you look at other health science centers in the country, they are almost always located downtown. The central location for the biomedical campus will create a health care corridor that will strengthen collaboration and support interprofessional health care learning, partnerships and research. It will benefit our entire community.”
The high-tech facility will draw students, educators and researchers from around the country — attracting and retaining talent and resources to the Wichita area and boosting the economic success of the entire state.
“We hope this project will be a model for how Kansas Board of Regents institutions can work together with state and local governments to not only improve education and training opportunities for students, but to advance economic development within our region,” said Simari.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.
About the University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university that serves as a center for learning, scholarship and creative endeavor. KU is the only state university in Kansas to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, a select group of 71 public and private research universities that represent excellence in graduate and professional education and the highest achievements in research internationally. KU has more than 28,000 students across five campuses and 14 schools, including schools of medicine and pharmacy. The university has 48 graduate programs ranked in the Top 50 nationally by U.S. News & World Report. Through its KU Medical Center, the university provides outreach to all 105 counties in Kansas. Each year, the university conducts more than $280 million in externally sponsored research.