Medical School Construction Enters the Homestretch

New Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Terra cotta panels give the outer shell of the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences a distinctive, clay-colored skin.

Published September 11, 2017

The cranes are long gone from the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. So is the industrial elevator, or “buck hoist,” that carried workers up and down the outside of the building. Nearly all 27,000-plus locally produced terra cotta panels that give the building’s outer shell a distinctive, clay-colored skin have been installed.


And a critical milestone took place in August when the silver Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences sign and the 800-pound locally custom-fabricated aluminum UB logo were lifted by crane 140 feet and installed at the top of the building. The sign illuminates at night.

With faculty and staff preparing to move into the new building later this fall, crews are focused on the final stretch of work on what has been the largest medical education building under construction in the country.

Focus on the Atrium

Inside, the massive six-story scaffolding structure has been removed, revealing the building’s vast, light-filled atrium. With the scaffolding gone, the function of the atrium — measuring 15,000 square feet on the second floor — is now clear. It will invite collaboration and a sense of community among faculty, students and staff as they navigate around their new home. Six internal bridges provide shortcuts across the atrium on five floors.

Workers are busily completing specific projects during the last punch list (odds and ends) phase of construction, such as installation of wood paneling in the atrium and the laying of porcelain floor tiles. Room number signs are going up soon and wayfinding signage is in production.

The building’s signature light tower, which will span two stories at the entrance at Main and High streets and be visible from the street, is nearly done. In the classrooms, information technology and audiovisual equipment is being installed.

Natural Light for Labs

Floors three, four and five, which contain research laboratories, are just about finished. These lab spaces feature abundant natural light, similar to the labs in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute just up the street.

The sixth and seventh floors are nearly completed. The sixth floor houses the Behling Simulation Center, where students from all the health sciences at UB will participate together in interprofessional patient simulations using state-of-the-art technologies. It also houses the Clinical Competency Center, where medical students prepare for national competency exams with real-world interactive scenarios featuring standardized patients. This floor also is home to the dean’s suite, the Office of Resource Management, the Office of Communications and the offices of several senior associate deans.

The seventh floor is home to the Gross Anatomy suite, one of the highlights of the new building, which uses advanced digital resources to analyze the human body, along with the traditional gross anatomy approach.

The seventh floor also houses:

  • a new robotics suite, where students will learn to use robotics in surgery
  • the surgical skills suite for training physicians and residents
  • the Structural Sciences Learning Center, focused on combining pathology and imaging to create better predictive models
  • a biomedical engineering collaborative space

On the eighth floor, the building’s mechanical systems stand ready to support and sustain the myriad medical education and research activities that are about to take place on the floors below.

“The completion of each item in this final punch-list phase of construction brings the medical school, the university and the Western New York community closer to a new era in medical education, research and clinical care,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.