|Mar 15, 2011 --
As the leaders of Pikeville College gathered with local, state and federal officials to break ground on a new medical school last fall, it was clear this construction project was a team effort.
State Director Tom Fern was joined by Governor Steve Beshear, former Governor Paul Patton – who currently serves as president of Pikeville College – and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (5th) as plans were laid out for the construction of a new nine-story facility to house the School of Osteopathic Medicine, a new cafeteria and a commons area for students.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a $26.5 million Community Facilities direct loan through USDA Rural Development that will be used to build a new instructional facility for the medical college.
The new facility will include more than 65,000 square feet of space that will house two lecture halls, a gross anatomy lab, two research labs, offices, small group classrooms and student study space. Additionally, it will contain a clinical skills training and evaluation center with 12 specially-equipped examination rooms that will serve as training and testing rooms for students in programs using standardized patients and high-fidelity robotic patient simulators. The building also will house a free community clinic.
This state-of-the-art facility will enable more students, especially those in the Appalachian Region, to pursue their goal of higher education in the medical field. The college provides local students the opportunity to get into medical schools and helps supply doctors for traditionally underserved areas in rural communities.
Pikeville College worked for years to establish the medical school with the goal of preparing and encouraging students to enter primary care practice and locate those practices in rural areas – most of which suffer from a shortage of doctors. Since opening its doors in 1997, it has produced more than 600 doctors. The new facility will provide much-needed space and increase class size from 75 to 120.
The city of Pikeville is located in Central Appalachia and is surrounded by most of the state’s 43 persistent poverty counties. Pike County is not designated as such, and serves as the legal, financial and education hub for Eastern Kentucky. It also is the gateway to rural communities in Virginia and West Virginia.
Other funding sources include a $500,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant, a grant for $500,000 from the James Graham Foundation and an application contribution of $2 million. Construction is expected to be completed in March 2012.