KCU breaks ground on state-of-the-art facility

Paul Thompson
Northeast News

On the morning of Monday, June 4, Kansas City University officially broke ground on a $33 million facility designed to make the school’s Historic Northeast campus a hotbed of innovation for years to come.

In a press release sent out last week, KCUMB indicated that JE Dunn will serve as the general contractor for construction, while the design of the facility was led by the team of Helix Architecture and Design and CO Architects. The Center for Medical Education Innovation (CMEI) isn’t expected to open until 2020, but KCUMB administrators – along with a standing room only crowd at the June 4 groundbreaking ceremony – are already allowing themselves to dream about the future.


The forward-thinking design of the four-level, 56,000 square-foot facility will boast features like flexible walls, virtual reality, and haptic technology – which utilizes tactile feedback to mimic lifelike sensory reactions. KCUMB administrators expect the features to help future-proof the curriculum.

“This is an exciting time in both medical and health care education; we’re on the cusp of incorporating a lot of technologies into the teaching platforms for medical students,” said Dr. Marc Hahn, President and CEO of KCUMB. “This gives us an opportunity to lead the charge in educating the next generation of physicians and scientists. When this building is completed, it will be one of the state-of-the-art facilities not just in the city, but also in the country.”

Other features include standardized patient rooms (where trained actors play the role of patients), high-fidelity simulation rooms (where medical robots display a variety of disease processes), and a simulation command center. The features will bolster the 13,000 square feet of classroom space.

“Our students will have the opportunity to practice over and over in virtual scenarios until they are confident and prepared when it comes time to treat actual patients, thus reducing medical errors and improving health outcomes for the communities we serve,” Hahn said.


The facility will also feature cutting edge Anatomage tables, which Hahn described as essentially six-foot iPad screens that are programmed specifically as a virtual dissection tool. The tables will be capable of calling in imaging studies, displaying CAT scans, rotating in multiple directions, and leading medical students in virtual dissections designed to eventually eliminate the need for plastic cut suits. Hahn said that those plastic models are realistic and helpful for simulating emergency operations, but he also called the cut suits expensive and difficult to re-use.

The Anatomage table, Hahn added, can change the game for beginning medical students.
“A first or second year medical student can now have a way to do a dissection without messing up a cadaver,” Hahn said. “The use of technology can accelerate the learning process.”

Darrin D’Agostino, Executive Dean, College of Osteopathic Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs, noted during his remarks that the new facility will provide the tools to make the university’s faculty even more effective.

“One of the things that I can’t wait to get to are some of these really neat technologies,” said D’Agostino. “But they’re only tools. They’re tools that are going to allow our faculty – and ours do a great job – to do it better.”

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James embraced the futuristic ambitions of the new facility, relaying an anecdote expressed by a futurist during the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

“He said something that’s kind of stuck with me,” James said. “He said, ‘If you are thinking about the future, and your idea does not seem absurd, then you’re really not thinking about the future; you’re thinking about the past.’ So as you innovate, I hope that you have a ton of absurd ideas.”

Hahn’s ultimate vision for KCUMB students extends even beyond the new $33 million facility. He envisions a future where virtual reality can make any room a laboratory.

“Whether you’re in a classroom or in a laboratory, or sitting at the kitchen table of your apartment, you can go through a simulated operation,” Hahn said.

The construction Center for Medical Education Innovation will run in conjunction with the construction of a new intersection at The Paseo and Independence Avenue, a key project within the Paseo Gateway initiative. Hahn is looking forward to the role that the CMEI facility will play as an anchor of that intersection.

“It will also help us to redefine our campus as an important part of the Paseo Gateway. This will be a striking building,” Hahn said. “I also think it’s an exciting time for the Northeast neighborhood. I think there’s a great rebirth that’s happening for the community, and I think all will benefit.”

The CMEI facility was made possible thanks to $1 million grants from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, the William T. Kemper Foundation, and lead gifts Sunderland Foundation, J. E. Dunn Construction Company, Victor E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and Jack and Glenna Wylie Foundation.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Police search for PH Coffee robber

    20 hours ago
    by

    PH Coffee, 2200 Lexington, was robbed on Aug. 1, 2020, and police are asking for the public’s help identifying a […]


    Victim dies from Saturday 12th and Lawndale shooting

    21 hours ago
    by

    The victim of an Aug. 1 shooting at 12th and Lawndale has died from his injuries, according to police. The […]


    Información sobre pruebas gratuitas de COVID-19

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Daisy Garcia Montoya Editorial Assistant La ciudad de Kansas City, Missouri, está ofreciendo pruebas gratuitas de COVID-19 en diferentes sitios […]


    Local priest involved in Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph Lawsuit

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Daisy Garcia Montoya Editorial Assistant A priest who served at Holy Cross Catholic Church on St. John Avenue is involved […]


    RideKC opens new East Village Transit Center

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Abby Hoover Managing Editor The new Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) East Village Transit Center at 12th and Charlotte […]


    Unofficial Results: Aug. 4 Primary Election

    August 4th, 2020
    by

    At 10:08 p.m., Jackson County had 136 of its 136 precincts fully reporting, and at 11:42 p.m., Kansas City had […]


    Man gets 40 years for killing teen outside mosque in 2014

    August 4th, 2020
    by

    Today a Jackson County judge sentenced Ahmed Aden, 40, to 40 years in prison for killing a 15-year-old Somali boy […]


    Mattie Rhodes Center Summer Youth Programming Underway

    August 4th, 2020
    by

    Mattie Rhodes Center’s (MRC) youth programming has officially started for this summer. New health guidelines released by the local government […]


  • City plans Landlord and Tenant University as eviction moratorium expires

    August 4th, 2020
    by

    The Neighborhood and Housing Services Department of Kansas City, along with facilitators from Legal Aid of Western Missouri will hold […]


    COVID-19 impacts parks staff and operations

    July 31st, 2020
    by

    The Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department is feeling the impact of COVID-19. With parks being utilized at an unprecedented […]


    August 4 Election Cheat Sheet

    July 30th, 2020
    by

    Jackson County Prosecutor & Jackson County Sheriff Missouri Senate District 9, 11, Missouri House District 23 Missouri House District 19, […]


    Library tackles COVID-19 myths

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    By Lucas Cuni-Mertz The Kansas City Public Library will be hosting a discussion tonight at 6:30 p.m. tackling myths surrounding […]


    Back the Blue rally meets protesters at KCPD HQ

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    Supporters of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department (KCPD) gathered outside the department’s downtown headquarters Tuesday evening. Across the street, […]


    Charges filed in fatal Northeast beating

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    A Kansas City man is being charged for a fatal beating of a Northeast man on June 15, 2020 at […]


    Back To School 2020

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!Enter your email address and click on the […]


    Violent crime uptick draws community attention

    July 29th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Roughly thirty Independence Avenue stakeholders and community members met Thursday, July 23, at the offices of the […]


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.