A few months ago, Queen’s School of Medicine marked five years since it opened its state-of-the-art, four-storey, purpose-built medical building.
The School of Medicine building was long overdue. While the School of Medicine has always had a strong identity within the university, it lacked a unifying, physical presence for its medical students. The planners of the new School of Medicine building changed that by creating spaces that ensured medical students were always at the forefront.
The planners wanted students to be seen working in groups, learning in classes, studying for exams. But above all, planners created spaces where students could work together to solve clinical problems. In fact, nearly every feature of the building was designed to facilitate teamwork and case-based learning. Instead of mainly sitting and taking notes in lectures, students spend much more time working together where they develop professional relationships that continue to be so strong within the Queen’s School of Medicine.
The 124,000 square-feet building includes two large lecture theatres, a clinical education centre, simulation laboratories, hands-on laboratories, and twenty-eight small meeting rooms for team-based learning. Now, generations of Queen’s medical students will hone their clinical skills in a facility set up as a real-life clinic. They will build and test their technical skills on the second floor, which is devoted to clinical simulation with mannequins and equipment. The foundational sciences, such as anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology and pharmacology have dedicated space on the basic science floors. The building supports a School of Medicine’s patient-focused curriculum, where students are taught in small groups and learn how to deal with patients directly.
The Anatomy Museum, previously in Botterell Hall, was relocated to the building’s third floor. The museum contains hundreds of anatomical specimens spanning the entire body. It is considered one of the finest in Canada. The versatility of this new space comes with the ability to organize and reorganize the museum with ease so that the entire spectrum of learning materials can be used in combination. Of course, the building also features non-anatomical specimens. Along the hallways, there are artifacts, photos, artwork, and displays that convey the history of – and connect medical students to – one of Canada’s oldest medical schools. For instance, Connell door the main floor atrium comes from the house of former Deans of Medicine Dr. Walter Connell, MD’94, LLD’41 and his son, Dr. W. Ford Connell, MD’29, LLD’73. The door was rescued from demolition and now proudly displayed in the building entranceway as a reminder of the School of Medicine’s rich history.
The Queen’s community came together in ways that inspired generosity from our students, our faculty, our alumni and our friends. The building was funded with $57.6 million from the provincial and federal governments through infrastructure programs, over $17 million from donors, $1.5 million from the Clinical Teachers’ Association, and $500,000 from medical students through a $100 opt-out fee in support of the building construction.
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