Hospital foundation nears goal for med school relocation

August 18, 2016 GMT

A $7.5 million campaign to relocate the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Salina Campus to downtown Salina is 84 percent of the way to its goal.

Salina Regional Health Foundation announced Wednesday that more than $6.3 million has been raised in the Blueprint for Rural Health campaign.

The total includes a $2 million grant — the campaign’s largest gift — received last week from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.

“We have a ways to go, but it has been extremely well received up to this point,” said Tom Martin, executive director of the Salina Regional Health Foundation.

The hospital foundation purchased a former bank building at 138 N. Santa Fe in May, with the goal of moving the medical school.

The medical school, which opened in 2011 in the Braddick Building on the Salina Regional Health Center campus, will move to the new location in June 2018 after major renovations are complete.

“We want to have all the funds raised by the time the new medical school building opens,” Martin said. “As these funds are coming into the foundation, we turn them around and are responsible for making the payments on the expenses. We won’t be sitting on these funds. They’ll be used to help us accomplish the project.”

The bank building offers the medical school 40,251 square feet of space, more than double the current campus size.

Curriculum to change

The larger facility will better accommodate curriculum changes that call for more small-group work and allow the possibility of class sizes to expand from eight students a year to 16 students a year over time, according to a news release.

The mission of the KU Medical School in Salina is to provide students a quality medical education in a rural setting with hope that graduates move on to practice in rural Kansas.

Several graduates from the first two classes have indicated they plan to open a practice in rural Kansas after residency training is complete, the release reads.

The program in Salina is the smallest four-year medical degree-granting medical school in North America, in respect to class size and community setting.

KU Medical School-Salina aims to continue competing for the best prospects, Dr. William Cathcart-Rake, dean of the Salina school, is quoted in the news release as saying, and the new facility will allow it to compete and grow.

Gifts to the Blueprint for Rural Health campaign can be made through the Salina Regional Health Foundation, 452-6088, or the KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7400. Pledges may be made over three years and are tax-deductible.