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USA begins construction on $200M College of Medicine building

The University of South Alabama is breaking ground for a medical building that will “transform medicine,” the university announced. The construction of the facility is projected to cost $200 million.

“This facility will offer our future students the most advanced learning and research opportunities anywhere in the country,” said USA President Jo Bonner. “It will transform medicine to the unique needs of our community while educating and training the next generation of providers.”

Gov. Kay Ivey emphasized the potential of the state-of-the-art medical building.

“Alabama proudly recognizes the value of the Whiddon College of Medicine, and by breaking ground on this state-of-the-art facility, we are further positioning one of our state’s premier institutions to connect our people with the care they need,” said Ivey. “From larger cohorts to greater research capabilities, this new facility will take an already excellent program to the next level.”

According to Dr. John Marymount, dean of the medical school, the facility is an “investment” into the future of an already very successful program.

“By national metrics, this medical school produces high-quality physicians that stay in the state, helping meet the needs in primary care as well as in rural and underserved areas at an affordable cost,” he said.

To make the project a reality, former U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby set aside $60 million in federal appropriations for the facility. The USA Foundation contributed $30 million and the state provided $50 million.

Many others have also recognized the critical need to build a new College of Medicine. The City of Mobile will give $10 million, and Mobile County has pledged $5 million. Alabama Power, The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the Bedsole Foundation, the Daniel Foundation and others also have given transformational gifts.

“We made a call for support to provide a building to match the quality of our student’s education,” Bonner said. “Their action shows that they understand the critical value an academic health system brings to its local community and throughout the state.”

The new building is scheduled to be completed by 2026. Upon completion, it will be 250,000 square feet and will allow for expanding the class size of first-year medical students from 80 to 100, with the capability of increasing to 120 in the future.

The Whiddon College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama is one of 158 accredited MD-granting institutions in the United States, and one of only two in the state.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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