Dirt flies on Wichita Biomedical Campus

By The Active Age | May 8, 2024

State and local leaders broke ground Wednesday on the Wichita Biomedical Campus, with speakers predicting the healthcare education center will transform downtown and health care across Kansas.
“I can’t wait to come back and see this campus completed and the impact it will have on health care all across the state,” said Gov. Laura Kelly, who was among two dozen dignitaries ceremoniously turning over a ceremonial shovel of dirt.
The $300 million campus is a partnership between KU School of Medicine, Wichita State’s College of Health Professions and Speech-Language Hearing Clinic and WSU Tech’s health care program.
The first phase is expected to open in 2027. Located at the southwest corner of Broadway and William streets, the campus will bring about 3,000 students and 200 faculty to downtown.
Here’s a press release from KU Wichita regarding the groundbreaking:
“Leadership from two Kansas universities joined the governor of the state in breaking ground earlier today on a project that will benefit the entire state, the Wichita Biomedical Campus. A partnership between the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, the facility will combine the Wichita campuses of the KU School of Medicine and KU School of Pharmacy, along with Wichita State’s College of Health Professions and Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and WSU Tech’s health care program.
The groundbreaking represents the beginning of construction on a $300 million, 471,000-square-foot joint health sciences center in the heart of downtown Wichita.
“This partnership to create the Wichita Biomedical Campus represents an innovative way to effectively advance our mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow and help build healthy and vibrant communities,” said Douglas A. Girod, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Kansas. “This will be a game changer for the state in terms of synergies and efficient use of resources. We want to thank Wichita State University for partnering with us to advance health care in the state of Kansas.”The first phase — expected to open in spring 2027— will be 355,000 square feet located at the southeast corner of Broadway and William and will include shared spaces for advanced laboratories, technology and simulation rooms for hands-on training. Wichita State and WSU Tech will share the first four stories of the eight-story tower. The fifth story is a shared simulation floor. KU will use the top three stories for its classrooms, workspaces and offices.“The Wichita Biomedical Campus is a tangible expression of our dedication to advancing health care through collaboration and innovation,” said Wichita State President Rick Muma. “By bringing together researchers, health care professionals and industry leaders, we’re creating an environment where groundbreaking discoveries can thrive and where collaboration sparks innovation. This campus will be at the forefront of transforming health care, ultimately improving the lives of countless individuals.”
KU Medical School has three campuses, Kansas City, Salina and Wichita. Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., Ph.D., executive dean of the KU School of Medicine who oversees all three campuses, sees tremendous opportunity with this new shared facility. “This new Wichita Biomedical Campus is timely and essential to our increase the number of physicians that we train at the KU School of Medicine,” Ojo said. “It will enable us to dramatically the number of physicians who starting and completing their medical education in Wichita.”
Garold Minns, M.D., dean of the Wichita campus of the KU School of Medicine, agrees. “The collaboration within the Wichita Biomedical Campus will provide multiple advantages for KU students. Adding to the already popular benefit of immersive community hands-on experiences, the opportunity to expand their inter-professional learning and training skills in a centralized location will enhance KU School of Medicine-Wichita’s draw for medical students. All of these facets and more will make for better future physicians and ultimately better patient outcomes.”
In addition to its main location in Lawrence, the KU School of Pharmacy currently has a Wichita location that shares a campus with the KU School of Medicine in Wichita, so this shared facility with Wichita State is yet another opportunity for collaboration.

“The joint biomedical campus is an exciting venture that will benefit the future of healthcare in Wichita and across the state,” said Ronald Ragan, Ph.D., dean of the KU School of Pharmacy. “We look forward to strengthening the collaborations and partnerships we have in the Wichita community through this new facility and creating new opportunities for innovation and research in pharmacy and the health sciences. We’re grateful to all who played a role in making the Wichita Biomedical Campus a reality and for the promise it holds for improving the lives of Kansans.”

Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources, including $190 million from the Kansas Legislature and $15 million from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS), made available through the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee and State Finance Council. It is anticipated that all the involved institutions of higher education will continue to explore numerous types of additional funding to move the project forward.

It’s an investment in the city and in the state, said Bradley Newell, Pharm.D., assistant dean and head of the Wichita campus for the KU School of Pharmacy. “This investment will help better prepare our healthcare professionals and in turn improve the health of the patients they serve,” he said. “We know that our students will receive an enhanced education at the new campus because of the increased opportunities to interact with other faculty and students from the KU School of Medicine and the health professions programs at Wichita State. We are also confident that the new facility will help grow our enrollment in Wichita.”