Wake Forest Plans $100 Million Project For Medical School

Wake Forest Plans $100 Million Project For Medical School

1:30pm Dec 08, 2014
Wake Forest will spend $100 million to transform this vacant 60 series R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. complex into a medical education building.
WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has announced a $100 million project to transform a former Reynolds Tobacco Company complex into a medical education building.

The building will be in the heart of the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem just south of the 525@Vine building.

It will be mainly used for classroom and research space for Wake Forest medical students.

The medical school is planning a $50 million capital campaign to pay for half of the project. The other half is expected to be offset by three historic property tax credits - Historic, New Markets and State Mill credits. Those credits are expected to expire at the end of year, making the timing of the project more urgent.

"These tax credits significantly lower the cost of this project and make it possible," says John McConnell, Wake Forest Baptist CEO. "But because those tax credits sunset on Dec. 31, timing is crucial. That's why we are starting immediately."

The medical school has used its current facility on the Hawthorne Campus since 1969. If all goes as planned, students could begin taking classes in the new building in late 2016. 

Edward Abraham, Dean of the Medical School, says the current education building is antiquated and cramped. He says the additional space and improved technology will make it easier for more one-on-one training.

“The biggest thing is to have the space for these small-group sessions and interactions, to have space that houses our learning communities, and so that will really facilitate their educational experience," Abraham says. "And we can’t do that in the present space.”

Abraham says students will still regularly return to the Hawthorne Campus, where they will be able to go on rounds and see patients.

Support your
public radio station