GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Planning for the new home of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has entered the schematic design phase. Over the summer, JLG Architects, the lead architects for the new facility, and their design partners from Perkins+Will and Steinberg Architects established general guidelines for the new facility. The process involved detailed discussions with SMHS leaders, faculty, staff, and students. The guidelines then are translated into floor plans and room layouts in the schematic design phase, which lays out the overall concept for the entire project: how large, what rooms, where to park, and what will the finished building look like. This phase will take place over the next couple of months.
Standard procedures during the schematic design phase are geotechnical sampling and testing, which have begun on the 8.25-acre site on the southwest corner of the intersection of North Columbia Road and Gateway Drive in Grand Forks. Surface and subsurface soil samples are taken through a variety of methods, including drilling of cores. The samples are then analyzed and tested in the laboratory in order to establish a three-dimensional picture of the subsurface support for the approximately 350,000-gross-square-foot facility. Analysis and test results determine any ground improvements that need to be made and guide designing the foundation for the building.
The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building, which received total funding of $122.45 million to be spread over two biennia (plus a reserve of $1.55 million held by the State Board of Higher Education), will incorporate educational, research, and administrative functions of the SMHS's Grand Forks campus, some of which have had to be housed in separate locations on the UND campus.
The new facility is the critical component in the SMHS's Health Care Workforce Initiative, a four-pronged plan to help address North Dakota's health care workforce needs now and in the future by reducing disease burden, retaining more of the school's graduates for practice in North Dakota, training more practitioners, and improving the efficiency of the state's health care delivery system.
Groundbreaking for the new facility is expected to take place in July of 2014, with completion of construction anticipated by July 2016.