Transformative space

The new Lehigh Valley Health Network Leadership Center jump started a major USF Health campus renovation to transform student learning

The Lehigh Valley Health Network Leadership Center at USF Health, unveiled Friday afternoon, is an impressive piece of a $12-million ongoing facelift of the USF Health campus.

The entire renovation is meant to accommodate the growing number of USF Health students in a more welcoming, attractive and technologically advanced environment.

“This Lehigh Valley Health Network Leadership Center will help transform the learning experience for our students,” USF President Judy Genshaft said as she welcomed faculty, staff and students to Friday’s ribbon-cutting celebration of the new space.

Among the guests helping cut the ribbon was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. He recognized the partnership between USF Health and Lehigh Valley Health Network to create an innovative MD leadership program for medical students known as SELECT (Scholarly Excellence. Leadership Experiences. Collaborative Training.) The first 19 students arrived at USF Health this week to begin the program; they will spend their first two years at USF Health, followed by two years of clinical training at Lehigh Valley in Allentown, PA, to complete their MD degree.

“I’m excited we’ve extended our reach to the great state of Pennsylvania,” said Buckhhorn, a Pennsylvania State University graduate. “USF is emerging on the national and international stage not only as a great place to go to school, but as a great place for research, and, by extension, for real growth and job opportunities.”

Dr. Ronald Swinfard, president and CEO of LVHN, and several faculty leaders at Lehigh Valley Health Network, joined the celebration virtually via video conference.

Genshaft and USF Health leaders thanked Lehigh Valley President and CEO Dr. Ronald Swinfard and his colleagues for their generous $2 million gift, which will be matched by an additional $2 million from other sources. The contribution jump started the remodeling of the old USF Health Auditorium into a modern state-of-the-art facility and triggered the other upgrades around USF Health.

The 9,000-square-foot Leadership Center features electronically-retractable skyfold partitions for maximum flexibility. The partition walls have whiteboard surfaces that students can write on. The Center can seat 300 for large lectures, or be divided into four classrooms, two with 50 seats each and two with 100. The facility will be used not only by medical students, but by students from Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences, the graduate program and the new College of Pharmacy. Its advanced video conferencing capabilities will help connect students and faculty at USF Health with faculty at Lehigh Valley, who are nearly 1,100 miles from Tampa.

“While the students here today won’t join us in Lehigh Valley until the spring of 2013, the Lehigh Valley Health Network Leadership Center, with its advanced media technology, will help bridge the gaps in time and distance between our two campuses,” said Dr. Alan Otsuki, the founding associate dean of educational affairs for SELECT. “This state-of-the-art facility will provide a home for the educational activities of a new generation of physician leaders. Each room is technology rich and fully wired to allow access to the world of information that our students need in today’s world of medical education.

“Both USF and LVHN share a commitment to innovation in health care education and patient-centered care, and technology is a vital component of that advanced health care.”

Dr. Alicia Monroe, vice dean of educational affairs for the USF College of Medicine, with Dr. Alan Otsuki, founding associate dean of educational affairs for SELECT.

In addition to the auditorium remodeling, Phase 1 of the USF Health renovation project included transformation of outdated laboratory space for medical students into a new 16,500-square-foot group learning complex. This vibrant gathering space houses classrooms that can be subdivided into spaces for 12 students, or combined to accommodate 72, as well as an centralized “living room” for informal study groups or socializing. In addition, the anatomy laboratories were remodeled to include suspended computers and monitors at each three-person work station and a centralized sky cam system.

The hub of the new group learning complex provides a comfortable space
for informal student study groups and socializing.

Phase 2 of the renovation is scheduled to being this fall, with completion expected in summer 2012. Lecture Halls 1096 and 1097 will be reconfigured so that the wall between the two can be removed to accommodate more students. Also planned are beautification of walkways and corridors, improved directional signs, and redesign of USF Health’s two courtyards to incorporate water features, more grass and plants, and shaded seating areas.

The renovated auditorium provides  a flexible, state-of-the-art facility for USF Health students from medicine, physical therapy, pharmacy and the graduate program.

The culmination of this major makeover – one of the largest renovations in the 40-year history of the USF medical campus – will be the construction of a main entrance, or “front door” for USF Health. This spring and summer remaining USF Medical Clinic operations relocated to the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare. The new entry colonnade, curving from the outside of the USF Health Rotunda around to the former medical clinic, will modernize the façade of the old clinic and visually unify it with the rotunda near the College of Nursing.

The USF Health Office of Operations and Facilities Management is coordinating the renovation project.  See more photos of the remodeled group learning space below.

Story by Anne DeLotto Baier, and photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications