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EVMS dedicates new high-tech education and research building

Story Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:10:00 EDT

Eastern Virginia Medical School celebrated the opening of its state-of-the-art Education and Research Building by inviting friends and supporters to a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 22.

"This is the foundation of continued, excellent health care for Hampton Roads," said EVMS President Harry T. Lester.

The building provides expanded room for increased enrollment, state-of-the-art simulation facilities for teaching and research and a home for the school's Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center.

EVMS received $59 million in state bond funding and combined that with contributions from corporate and individual contributions to pay for the new building and related renovations to two nearby structures. The landmark state support, the most EVMS has ever received for a capital project, made it possible for EVMS to move forward with the building, which is key to the future of health care in Hampton Roads.

For the ribbon-cutting ceremony, EVMS decorated the building with a giant red bow, accompanied by a tag that read: "A gift to the community from EVMS, our Donors, the Governor and the Virginia Assembly."

The new building allows EVMS to increase its medical student enrollment 30 percent and its Physician Assistant (PA) program enrollment more than 60 percent to help confront a pending shortage of physicians and health-care workers.

The four-story, 100,000-square-foot building was designed with energy conservation in mind. It will use 20 percent less energy than a traditional building and is constructed to LEED Silver standards. Green elements include low-flow plumbing fixtures; sun shades to reduce heat gain and make optimal use of natural lighting; high-efficiency glass; deep vestibules at entrances and high levels of insulation.

A highlight of the building is the Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning, which covers an entire floor. The unique center brings together task trainers, computerized manikins, virtual interfaces and standardized patients (people trained to portray sick patients for training purposes) to create more realistic training scenarios.

The fourth floor houses the Leroy T. Canoles Jr. Cancer Research Center, where EVMS scientists are focused on developing new cancer diagnostics, with particular emphasis on the forms of the disease most prevalent in Hampton Roads.

Students began using the building in August with the start of the 2011 school year.