Medical school is in budget and on schedule

By Terri Nighswonger

In budget and on schedule are the two words that every contractor, builder and owner want to hear. Those working on the Kansas City University School of Medicine and Bioscience (KCU) Joplin Campus are hearing those words as they prepare for the first class of medical students.


Pete Stobie, director of strategic initiatives, KCU, said the building will be released in sections with the first one, containing office space, released at the end of April.


“The faculty and staff that have been hired will be moving into the wing in late April,” Stobie said. “Then about two weeks later, the majority of the building gets released to us and then two weeks later, the final area, which is the kitchen and the cafeteria.”


Stobie said they should be in by Memorial Day and operational by June 1.


Students will arrive for orientation on July 24.


“We do have a little bit of time. We’ve got to get medical equipment, simulation patient rooms and the labs set up. We want to make sure everything is tested, all the AV, it’s a very high tech building. We’ve got a lot of time to make the building perfect and ready for students.”


Stobie and others are currently in the process of working with contractors which includes housekeeping, grounds, food service and everything from pest control to laundry.


“We’re working on all those trying to lock in all those vendors and partners and relationships,” he said.”


There are some parts of the building that have been untouched but will leave potential for future growth which include the smallest patient wing and the former emergency room area.


“We don’t plan to use that space for anything but it is space that we could grow into if new programs or something was to change,” he said. “We’re as ready to go as we can be. We’ve got the sidewalks poured and we’re getting ready to do some landscaping but from an interior perspective, we’re over 90 percent completed.”


Larry D. McIntire, D.O., KCU regional assistant dean for KCU-Joplin campus and director of the KCU Freeman Otolaryngology Residency Program, added his thoughts during a separate interview.


“This med school effort has been a shared project with so many people. It wouldn’t have happened with just one person,” he said. “KCU and their leadership have been of paramount importance.”


McIntire said he is excited to see the school come together.


“We want this school to be a comfortable setting for students who will be here 12 hours a day,” he said. “We care about these students and how they are going to respond to that.”


The building takes advantage of natural light and the technology is “right on the cutting edge,” McIntire said. “It’s not second class.”


Above all, he said the project will be beneficial to the community.


“Most of us can say we’ve never been on a project that has been more beneficial to others,” he said. “Through our eyes it’s a real success. No way could it have happened with just one person.”


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