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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 11, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 2
Groundbreaking Set This Week for New Medical Education Building

Facility to be named for benefactors S. Anne and C. Michael Armstrong

By Gary Stephenson
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins officials, students and faculty will gather on the East Baltimore campus at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, to break ground for the School of Medicine's first new medical education building in more than a quarter-century.

The S. Anne and C. Michael Armstrong Medical Education Building, scheduled for completion by 2009, is named for its chief benefactors, who contributed $20 million to the estimated $45 million cost of construction on a site between the Outpatient Center and the Denton A. Cooley Center. C. Michael Armstrong is chairman of the Johns Hopkins Medicine board of trustees and a contributor to the Hopkins institutions.

The planned 100,000-square-foot, four-story education building, on which construction will begin next year, will incorporate a variety of learning settings, ranging from a large lecture hall with seating for 360 students to flexible lab space and study areas for groups as small as three or four or up to 25, as well as ample study space for each student.

Design is still under way for the four tiers of classrooms, labs and offices in which students will be able to access the latest digital communications technology for tapping into network data and displaying digital images. Instead of using conventional microscopes, they will have virtual microscopy tools composed of high-resolution monitors and displays that show multiple images housed on centralized servers. Large screens at the end of each dissection table in the anatomy labs will provide students with digital reference tools.

"Extraordinary changes have taken place in medical education and related technology since the last Hopkins academic building, the Preclinical Teaching Building, was constructed almost a quarter of a century ago," noted David Nichols, vice dean for education at the School of Medicine. "The new building and its design dovetail with our redesign of the curriculum, both of which will foster fertile exchange of ideas."

Edward D. Miller, dean of the medical school faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that in addition to providing the latest technology to train physicians in everything from genetics and medical imaging to doctor-patient communications, the new building will serve as a dramatic "front door" to the School of Medicine.

"When prospective students visit our campus, they will come to it through this new building and see the place where modern medical education began more than a century ago and where it is leading the way once more," Miller said. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mike Armstrong and Anne for making this possible."

According to Nichols, design goals include maximum flexibility for learning and teaching spaces, a "home away from home" atmosphere for students, abundant yet controlled natural lighting and an "iconic" physical presence that harmonizes with the rest of the East Baltimore medical campus.

The entry level will contain large lecture halls, while the second floor will house the teaching labs and academic computing operations. A home will be developed on level three for the Advisory Colleges (each medical student is assigned to one of four, named for illustrious Hopkins faculty Daniel Nathans, Florence Sabin, Helen Taussig and Vivien Thomas). The fourth floor will contain the anatomy labs.

"As we reshape our curriculum to integrate learning programs, blend clinical and basic science learning experiences and introduce more small-group work, there is no better time or place to introduce these new educational concepts than a new building designed from the floor up to accommodate and foster these educations initiatives," Miller said.


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