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Wichita Biomedical Campus, a partnership between the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, moves from plans to reality

Groundbreaking ceremony for new joint facility emphasizes partnerships across the state

Kansas university and civic leaders hold shovels during ceremonial groundbreaking in Wichita
The groundbreaking featured leadership from both the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, along with officials from the state, county and city. (Pictured, from left to right: KU Chancellor Douglas Girod, Wichita President Rick Muma, Governor Laura Kelly, Chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents Jon Rolph and Mayor of Wichita, Lily Wu.)

A few years from now, Jayhawks and Shockers will share a building in downtown Wichita, with health care-related students of all types coming to one location. This vision, the Wichita Biomedical Campus, will house the Wichita campuses of KU School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy, along with health professions students from Wichita State and WSU Tech. Future doctors, nurses, physical therapists and even emergency medical technicians all will be housed in this joint facility in downtown Wichita.

“This partnership to create the Wichita Biomedical Campus represents an innovative way to effectively advance our mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow and help build healthy and vibrant communities,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Kansas. “This will be a game changer for the state in terms of synergies and efficient use of resources. We want to thank Wichita State University for partnering with us to advance health care in the state of Kansas.”

The groundbreaking ceremony featured leadership from two Kansas universities, along with Governor Laura Kelly and numerous state and local officials.

The first phase — expected to open in spring 2027 — will be 355,000 square feet located at the southeast corner of Broadway and William and will include shared spaces for advanced laboratories and technology and simulation rooms for hands-on training. Wichita State and WSU Tech will share the first four stories of the eight-story tower. The fifth story will be a shared simulation floor. KU will use the top three stories for its classrooms, workspaces and offices.

The groundbreaking represented the beginning of construction on a $300 million, 471,000-square-foot joint health sciences center in the heart of downtown Wichita.

“The Wichita Biomedical Campus is a tangible expression of our dedication to advancing health care through collaboration and innovation,” said Wichita State President Rick Muma, Ph.D. “By bringing together researchers, health care professionals and industry leaders, we’re creating an environment where groundbreaking discoveries can thrive and where collaboration sparks innovation. This campus will be at the forefront of transforming health care, ultimately improving the lives of countless individuals.”

Architectural Renderings of the Wichita Biomedical Campus

KU School of Medicine has three campuses: Kansas City, Salina and Wichita. Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., Ph.D., executive dean of KU School of Medicine who oversees all three campuses, sees tremendous opportunity with this new shared facility. “This new Wichita Biomedical Campus is timely and essential to increase the number of physicians that we train at KU School of Medicine,” Ojo said. “It will enable us to dramatically increase the number of physicians who start and complete their medical education in Wichita.”

Garold Minns, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine-Wichita, agrees: “The collaboration within the Wichita Biomedical Campus will provide multiple advantages for KU students. Adding to the already popular benefit of immersive community hands-on experiences, the opportunity to expand their interprofessional learning and training skills in a centralized location will enhance KU School of Medicine-Wichita’s draw for medical students. All these facets and more will make for better future physicians and ultimately better patient outcomes.”

In addition to its main location in Lawrence, KU School of Pharmacy currently has a Wichita location that shares a campus with KU School of Medicine-Wichita, so this shared facility with Wichita State is yet another opportunity for collaboration.

“The joint biomedical campus is an exciting venture that will benefit the future of health care in Wichita and across the state,” said Ronald Ragan, Ph.D., dean of KU School of Pharmacy. “We look forward to strengthening the collaborations and partnerships we have in the Wichita community through this new facility and creating new opportunities for innovation and research in pharmacy and the health sciences. We’re grateful to all who played a role in making the Wichita Biomedical Campus a reality and for the promise it holds for improving the lives of Kansans.”

Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources, including $190 million from the Kansas Legislature and $15 million from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), made available through the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas Executive Committee and State Finance Council. It is anticipated that all the involved institutions of higher education will continue to explore numerous types of additional funding to move the project forward.

It’s an investment in the city and in the state, said Bradley Newell, Pharm.D., assistant dean who leads KU School of Pharmacy-Wichita. “This investment will help better prepare our health care professionals and, in turn, improve the health of the patients they serve,” he said. “We know that our students will receive an enhanced education at the new campus because of the increased opportunities to interact with other faculty and students from KU School of Medicine and the health professions programs at Wichita State. We are also confident that the new facility will help grow our enrollment in Wichita.”

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