Monday, April 22, 2024

LSU Health Shreveport celebrates milestone with unveiling of $79M Center for Medical Education

by BIZ Magazine

On Monday, December 11, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined officials with LSU Health Shreveport to unveil the transformative Center for Medical Education, the first new building on the campus since 2008.

After two and half years of construction, a crowd of more than 400 invited guests joined LSU and LSU Health Shreveport leadership to celebrate the completion of the four-story, 155,000-square-foot, $79 million structure. Dr. David Guzick, LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor, shared his excitement for the Center for Medical Education which will enhance the educational experience and interdisciplinary collaboration for students and faculty across the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Graduate Studies and Medicine. The building is strategically located adjacent to the three professional schools, making it a hub for training the next generation of healthcare and research professionals.

“An investment in Louisiana’s healthcare and scientific workforce is a win for our entire state, which is why the opening of the Center of Medical Education at LSU Health Shreveport is such an important achievement,” said Gov. Edwards. “This state-of-the-art facility gives Shreveport every advantage to equitably compete for top tier students from both near and far. Given LSU Health Shreveport’s long and impressive record of retaining graduates in Louisiana, and providing care for underserved and rural areas, I am confident that this center will prove beneficial in the immediate future and for decades to come.”    

Following remarks from Dr. David Guzick, LSU President Dr. William F. Tate IV, Governor John Bel Edwards, and top corporate and individual donors along with Senator Greg Tarver, attendees were invited to tour the expansive space.

The Center for Medical Education was constructed in part to support the advancement of medical education in North Louisiana and coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first graduating medical school class. With 70,000 square feet dedicated to educational spaces, the new facility is reimagining the student experience that will promote collaborative and hands-on learning. Teaching spaces include a 500-seat auditorium-in-the-round, two 250-seat instructional classrooms and 27 classrooms for teaching, active learning and student debriefing. Additionally, dedicated clinical skills and simulation-based educational spaces span two floors of the building.

The dynamic design boasts shimmering glass and metal, utilizing energy, transparency and lightness to create a welcoming atmosphere. Wellness is a key component in the design of the Center for Medical Education. The building’s Wellness Center features cardio and fitness studios, a multipurpose gymnasium and a teaching kitchen to promote the importance of proper nutrition for students and patients. The building also includes food services and spaces for student leisure, academic support and administration. The open and sheltered outdoor plaza provides an inviting environment for students, residents and staff to enjoy.

An important component of the new building is the 11,780-square-foot Center for Emerging Viral Threats (CEVT) research, education and training facility. The research space will act as a training ground for students, physicians and scientists and will consist of a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory and a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) laboratory with an additional lab space enabling both advanced research on viral pathogens and molecular testing for different viruses serving public health needs. Senator Bill Cassidy spearheaded the effort that led to a $7 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant that contributed to the construction of the CEVT research facility. The BSL-3 Lab will be the first of this magnitude on the LSU Health Shreveport campus and in North Louisiana, enabling the institution’s world-class researchers to further study important emerging human pathogens and fortify the university’s position to address future pandemics quickly.

The Center for Medical Education is a public-private partnership made possible by the State of Louisiana and more than 400 donors, including lead gifts from Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport and Ochsner Health totaling $15.5 million, as well as $1 million each from both the City of Shreveport and Caddo Parish Commission. “When public and private funders join forces, incredible achievements can occur. This transformational building is a testament to the commitment of our federal, state and local elected leaders and community supporters to LSU Health Shreveport’s future. It is with great pride that we could come together with our closest supporters to celebrate this achievement. We are thankful for every dollar given to this project because every dollar mattered,” stated Kevin Flood, President and CEO of the LSU Health Sciences Foundation in Shreveport.

Additionally, a new $2.5 million gift from W. Clinton “Bubba” Rasberry, Jr. was announced at the unveiling. The gift will establish the Rasberry Family Endowed Lecture Series, which will be hosted in the building auditorium. In recognition of this gift, it was announced that the auditorium will be named the W. Clinton Rasberry Jr. Auditorium.

“LSU Health Shreveport is exceedingly grateful to everyone who made the Center for Medical Education a reality, as their investment significantly strengthens our ability to attract and retain top students and faculty. We are expressly indebted to Governor John Bel Edwards, who has steadfastly supported our vision from idea to fruition. He, along with our state delegation, immediately understood the immense impact the Center for Medical Education would have on our region and state and made the tremendous investments required to ensure that LSU Health Shreveport and Louisiana remain leaders in medical and scientific education. In addition, we now have the opportunity to bolster our impact on the local economy through new research grant opportunities made possible by the new laboratory space on the third floor of the Center for Medical Education,” stated Dr. Guzick.

Occupancy of the Center for Medical Education will be completed in phases beginning in January 2024, with full occupancy expected in the spring.

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