SPOKANE, Wash. — With a snip of the ribbon, an almost decade-long dream finally turned into reality.
More than 300 students, faculty and community leaders came together for the grand opening of the new Gonzaga medical school building.
The building was made possible by a health partnership between Gonzaga and the University of Washington.
"This is such a terrific day. It's a culmination of so much hard work on so many people,” said Ana Marie Cauce, the President of the University of Washington. “This was a dream I remember when I first started my presidency. This was a dream, and it's not only a reality but a better reality than the dream!"
Students have already been using the 90,000 square feet building since mid-July. The building also has space for over 500 Gonzaga undergraduates in nursing and health sciences.
“I am so excited to stay in the new building. Our classes start about in two weeks for second years. We're excited to start in the new anatomy labs, also the new facilities. I've had some chances to be inside the rooms, great study spaces, great technology advancements as well,” said Samartha Shrestha, a second- year medical school student at Gonzaga.
Some of the new features include an anatomy suite, high-tech research labs and state of the art classrooms. The building was also built eco-friendly and utilizes an open-loop ground source heat pump for heating and cooling.
The program expects to admit 60 qualified students each year. Students who get admitted into the Gonzaga Health Partnership program are enrolled in the UW School of Medicine curriculum and complete their first 18 months of medical school. Later, they can stay in Spokane or move elsewhere for their clinicals.
Associate Dean Darryl Potyk hopes the new building enhances medical education in Spokane and brings more doctors to the area.
"The impact we want to have is have our students come back here, serve our region in the urban area in Spokane but also in the rural regions of Eastern Washington," Potyk said. "We want them to come back there and provide health care for the rural regions."
Gonzaga is the first private institution to join the University of Washington's school of medicine as a full partner. The building was one of the main aspirations when the universities created their partnership in 2016.
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