University of Idaho
WWAMI Anatomy Facility at Gritman Medical Center
WWAMI Medical Education Building
Support for medical students
A pair of building projects at the University of Idaho provide a new home and create a refreshed, modern identity for the WWAMI medical education and training program. Led by the University of Washington School of Medicine, WWAMI (comprising the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) seeks to provide access to publicly supported, community-based medical education for students in their first two years of medical school. Among the primary motivations is the urgent need for physicians to serve Idaho's rural population.
Flad conducted a predesign study to assess options for repurposing the Business Technology Incubator building, ultimately finding it would fall short of program space needs. These results informed the university's strategic decision to split components of the WWAMI program between two sites.
First, the university extended its already strong partnership with the Gritman Medical Center by locating the WWAMI program's anatomy training laboratory in the medical office building across from the main hospital. For this phase-one project, Flad developed a program for and design of a 10,000-square-foot space to house an anatomy lab flooded with natural light, an active learning classroom, a student lounge, and faculty offices. The overall design creates a new front door for WWAMI, giving the program a strong identity and doubling its efficiency. This proximity allows practicing physicians who teach WWAMI students to easily move students from classroom to direct patient experiences, increasing instructional time spent together.
Phase two converts the former Business Technology Incubator building into a new Medical Education Building providing the main offices and educational curriculum for up to 120 students, accommodating an expanded student lounge, flexible and interactive learning spaces, small exam rooms, faculty offices, and administrative support space. The project includes an addition of approximately 3,000 square feet to the existing 17,000-square-foot building, establishing the university's first dedicated medical education building at a major gateway to campus and anchoring a new health sciences precinct. The location on the east end of campus offers convenient pedestrian connection to the Gritman Medical Center, where students apply classroom learning to direct patient experiences.
The primary uses in the first phase are core curriculum centered around anatomy and medical education, broadening in the second phase to include multidisciplinary learning and skills acquisition, leading up to the fulfillment of partnership agreements, rotations, and specialized learning within the Gritman Center. Jointly, the facilities (both will have been completed under fast schedules and very tight budgets) bring together medical students for the first time into purpose-driven facilities that also provide a sense of community and support during their intense training.