Start of construction of the new medical school building


UC Riverside began construction on Friday October 22 on a new medical school building that will increase class sizes and increase the number of trained physicians in the underserved interior of Southern California.

Campus and community leaders celebrated the start of the project at a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site south of the existing medical school on the east side of the campus.

“This building will provide much needed space for our medical students, faculty and staff, and it will pave the way for the expansion of our medical school class,” said Dr Deborah Deas, Vice-Chancellor of Health Sciences and Mark and Pam Rubin. Dean of the UCR School of Medicine. “So much work has gone into the planning and design of this magnificent new building, and this event is a major milestone in the process.”

Several elected officials, professors, students, employees and members of the community attended the inauguration ceremony. Deas acknowledged the continued support and advocacy of legislative partners, including State Senator Richard Roth and assembly members Jose Medina and Sabrina Cervantes.

Campus architect Jacqueline Norman said a new building can be transformative for the physical campus as well as for the education of students who seek their own way to transform not only their lives but that of their community.

“When successful, architecture has the power to enrich every part of our life and the way we interact with and experience the world,” she said. “I have no doubts that this new education building will do just that. The building will be bathed in natural light. The design will provide easy connections to the outdoors at every level of the building, promoting an atmosphere of health and well-being.

Chancellor Kim Wilcox explained why the buildings are being built.

“We are building buildings for shelter,” he said. “We also build buildings as places of gathering, of gathering communities. We are also constructing buildings for worship. We build buildings for learning. We also construct buildings as memorials or monuments. This new building will be all of that – a place designed for others, not just in the medical school, to commune, learn and reflect. It will inspire our future.

Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

The School of Medicine Education Building II, or SOM Ed II, will have approximately 57,000 transferable square feet out of 90,000 gross square feet. The design features an urban downtown theme that includes outdoor seating, terraces, and landscaping that will complement the existing buildings that surround it.

The five-level building is the largest expansion of the School of Medicine since it opened in 2013 and will allow the school to increase the number of trained students. The current class size of 125 will increase from an additional 80 to 125 students.

The project is the first building designed specifically for the needs of the school and has state-of-the-art learning facilities that support modern medical education. It includes lecture halls, classrooms, problem-based learning rooms, meeting rooms for student functions, study spaces, offices and other support spaces.

Regents at the University of California approved the building’s budget and design in March. Hensel Phelps Construction / CO Architects, who completed the multidisciplinary research building in 2019, was selected as the design / build team for the project.

Click here for a slideshow of photographs of the revolutionary event.

Story of Imran Ghori and Iqbal Pittalwala

Renderings by architects displayed at the groundbreaking event show the facade of the SOM II building. Photos of the event by Stan Lim / UCR

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