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Wichita City Council approves location for joint WSU/KU Biomedical Campus

Approval moves forward a joint project to build a new health sciences center in downtown Wichita.

Architectural concept drawing of Wichita Biomedical Campus building
Construction on the Wichita Biomedical Campus is expected to begin in early 2024, with completion in 2026. [Image is conceptual]

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 sometime 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, said WSU President Rick Muma, Ph.D., MPH.

“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 Robert D. Simari, M.D., 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 said. “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.

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