Walking through the atrium of the Health Sciences Learning Center, one can’t miss the construction work; exciting changes have begun.

Health Sciences Learning Center Active Learning Center
The Health Sciences Learning Center enhancements will include a third-floor Active Learning Center.

In an effort to support its new ForWard curriculum and prepare for the upcoming medical school accreditation, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health will be making improvements to roughly 356,000 square feet at the Health Sciences Learning Center (HSLC).

As the building undergoes the renovation project, which started in June, construction will at times affect students, faculty and staff, but the new enhancements will be exciting, said Mark Wells, assistant dean of facilities.

“It is hard to believe that it has been more than a decade since we moved to the HSLC. But, it has. And the truth of the matter is our building needs to look forward beyond the 21st century,” Wells said.

The improvements are divided into two projects. The first phase includes remodelling classroom and teaching space. This phase of the project will be completed by the time the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation reviewers arrive for their site visit in April 2018.

The second phase, expected to take place between May and August 2018, comprises reworking the office space and staff conference areas throughout the building.

Health Sciences Learning Center learning communities
The medical student learning communities - known as The Neighborhood - will be redesigned with new amenities.

The enhancements include:

  • 3,000-square-foot remodel of second-floor office suites that will be turned into quiet study space
  • Redesigned The Neighborhood student houses with new amenities
  • New reconfigurable Active Learning Center on the third floor
  • New Clinical Teaching and Assessment Classroom (CTAC) on the third floor
  • New office space in the old CTAC on the first floor, which will include the new home for the Native American Center for Health Professions and multicultural affairs office
  • Improved security measures throughout the building
  • Access to the third floor from the main elevator and stairwell
  • Third-floor kitchenette and lounge with catering capabilities near the Active Learning Center
  • Upgrade of audio-visual equipment around the building
  • Adding carpet to the atrium for better acoustics
  • New furniture in the silent study space

Because the building can’t be closed completely for construction, various portions of it will be closed either to serve as staging areas for construction, or to actually be under construction.

Since the onset of the project, the south end of the third floor has been closed to the public and is a staging area for construction until February 2018. For a complete list of closed spaces and timelines, please visit the HSLC Enhancements Project page.

The project’s designs are led by OPN Architects, Madison, and The S/L/A/M Collaborative, medical education design specialists based in Connecticut, in coordination with the University Police Department, and Wells’ office.

Representatives of OPN and SLAM, along with Wells and his staff, have been meeting with faculty, students and staff since early December to address the needs of the parties affected directly by the building enhancements to drive the project’s design.

The center’s facilities staff will routinely share updates on screens around the building, as well as the enhancements web page, to offer specific information and answer questions about the project.

Additionally, Wells and Malorie Hepner from OPN Architects, and representatives from JP Cullen, the construction company, will present updates at a town hall meeting from noon to 1pm Aug. 30, in room 1306 at the Health Sciences Learning Center.

Health Sciences Learning Center configurable learning spaces
The renovated third floor will feature configurable learning spaces.