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Work on World-Class HSEC Begins in Minnesota

Wed August 08, 2018 - Midwest Edition #16
Lori Tobias – CEG CorrespondEnt


Excavators, off-road trucks and concrete-pump equipment have effortlessly joined the cranes and the crew in working on the foundations of the 22-story tower.
(University of Minnesota photo)
Excavators, off-road trucks and concrete-pump equipment have effortlessly joined the cranes and the crew in working on the foundations of the 22-story tower. (University of Minnesota photo)
Excavators, off-road trucks and concrete-pump equipment have effortlessly joined the cranes and the crew in working on the foundations of the 22-story tower.
(University of Minnesota photo) Rendering of the new Health Sciences Education Center (HSEC) under construction at the University of Minnesota. 
(Perkins+Will and SLAM photo) A group of Cat and Hitachi excavators are hard at work on the project. 
(University of Minnesota photo)

The new Health Sciences Education Center (HSEC) under construction at the University of Minnesota will be the one of the most comprehensive interprofessional education facilities in the country when complete, according to a University press release.

“This new facility will help Minnesota develop the next generation of world-class medical professionals, to meet our future health care challenges and improve the well-being of all our communities,” said Gov. Dayton. “By investing in modern facilities at our colleges and universities, we can improve economic opportunities for Minnesotans and support a growing economy. I urge the Legislature to work with me this session to make significant, needed investments in the maintenance and repair of our higher education institutions throughout Minnesota.”

The state of Minnesota invested $66.7 million in construction of the 202,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility as part of its 2017 special session bonding bill. The University, along with support from donors, will fund an additional $33.3 million in construction costs. Predesign and design from reallocated TCF Bank Stadium bond proceeds totaled $8.6 million. The total cost of the project is $108.6 million.

“Our new Health Sciences Education Center is testament to the Governor's and Legislature's extraordinary commitment to health sciences education in our state,” said University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. “It is much needed and will advance the University's mission to prepare Minnesota's diverse and innovative health care workforce.”

The HSEC website notes the new facility “will provide a unifying space that students and faculty can be proud of and that will promote teamwork across schools. The new space will improve the student experience and will help us to attract the best and the brightest students and faculty to our state.”

The general contractor on the project is JE Dunn Construction. Perkins+Will and SLAM are co-design architects, and Perkins+Will is also Architect of Record on the project.

“As part of construction, improvements will also be made to the existing Phillips-Wangensteen Building (PWB),” states the press release, “which connects the Education Center to adjacent buildings that house most of the health sciences schools. Along with accessibility, mechanical and electrical infrastructure upgrades, PWB will house open study spaces, small group study rooms, break out spaces for team collaboration, classrooms ranging in size from 16 to 64 seats, a teaching visualization lab and faculty commons, computer work stations, library consultation rooms and more.

“University alumni make up more than 70 percent of the state's health care professionals,” according to the press release. “Combining technology with new ways of teaching, the Education Center will enable the University to train the next generation of care providers to meet Minnesota's changing health care needs. As health care changes, industry leaders are searching for graduates who are able to work effectively as teams and collaborate across health professions.”

The HSEC website outlines some of its features:

  • Students at the center: Classrooms will be the center of health sciences interprofessional education, with a mix of active learning and small group teaching spaces to support this student-centered model.
  • Study space for all: Quiet study, group study and social spaces will be provided throughout the facility to promote interprofessional interaction and study opportunities.
  • Revamped library: The Biomedical Library and the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine will be integrated into HSEC to support the knowledge life cycle. Emerging technologies, staff with deep expertise, and a world-renowned collection of rare books and manuscripts will spark innovation and transform learning through knowledge discovery, use, creation and sharing. Features include: virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, 1:Button video recording studios, a makerspace with tools to support problem-based learning and a faculty commons to facilitate technology integration into the learning environment.
  • State-of-the-art simulation: HSEC will bring together the AHC Simulation Center and Interprofessional Education and Resource Center and SIMPortal to create 1Health SIM, promoting collaborative simulation training. The facility will include both acute and ambulatory care spaces, trainer stations, briefing/debriefing rooms and actor prep spaces where interprofessional teams can train in sophisticated settings.
  • Front door to health sciences: The building will serve as the new “front door” for the Academic Health Center and will include a student services, recruitment and visitors center; a café; and interprofessional student lounge spaces.

CEG