It has been a year since October 2012 when we hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new medical school building located on the W.E. Upjohn Campus in downtown Kalamazoo. Construction crews have made great progress over the past year on the $68 million dollar renovation and expansion project. This October 2, 2013 on a beautiful autumn day a group of several hundred colleagues, community leaders and friends of the medical school gathered to sign the final steel beam that signaled the 'topping out' of our new addition. This is a cherished custom whenever the steel skeleton of a building is completed. Our new medical education building is scheduled to open in June 2014 and will be the inaugural home to a pioneering class of students, faculty and staff.
I am pleased to welcome a new member to the medical school senior leadership team, Cheryl A. Dickson, MD, MPH, who is the associate dean for health equity and community affairs and an associate professor in the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. In her new role, Dr. Dickson will work collaboratively with community leaders and organizations to meet shared goals and improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.
The medical school employed faculty has grown to more than 80 with the recruitment of additional clinical and basic science expertise. This month many more physicians, other healthcare providers, and community members can begin the online application process for medical school faculty appointment to participate in teaching the next generation of physicians in Kalamazoo.
We continue to finalize the medical school curriculum that incorporates contemporary technologies, simulation training and instructional strategies focused on problem-solving in a team-oriented, interprofessional learning environment. Our graduates will be prepared to excel in any chosen specialty.
This summer our medical student application system opened, and more than 3000 applicants have designated that their AMCAS application be sent to WMed. Earlier this month we hosted our first campus visit and on-site interview day, with nine more interview days scheduled through March 2014. Using a holistic review of applications, the Admissions Committee will select 50 medical students who have the opportunity to make history as our inaugural class.
I am excited about the progress we have made and look forward to many more significant accomplishments over the next year, and beyond.
Lastly, I want to let you know about a momentous event that you won’t want to miss. With our inaugural class on campus next fall we will host a Grand Opening Celebration on September 18, 2014 for the entire community to meet our medical students and to tour the new downtown facility. I hope you can join us.