Fifty years of growth

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Published: May 25,2009

Tags: UMMC

UMMC prepares for the next half century

The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) has experienced a large amount of growth the past two decades.

Now, senior officials there have started the process of formulating a master plan to govern the next 50 years of growth and expansion at the facility in Jackson.

Initiated May 4, the master facilities plan will chart the course for the evolvement of the school’s health-science education, its clinical service and its medical research. A Master Planning Steering Committee has tapped two Jackson firms — Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons Architects & Engineers (CDFL) and Eley Associates Architects — to help with the plan’s development. CDFL and Eley Associates will contract with two international firms with experience in medical center planning, Kurt Salmon Associates and Sasaki Associates.

“What we will be doing is looking at our mission, which is three parts — clinical, research and academic areas — and also the infrastructure that supports the critical mission areas and to make sure the planning and facilities accommodate the growth of the mission areas for now and in the future (up to the next 50 years),” said Dr. David Powe, associate vice chancellor for administrative affairs and head of the Master Planning Steering Committee.

The development of the plan will consist of three phases, the first of which – project initiation – is underway. The second phase – strategic, physical and operational assessments — will start June 1 and go through Aug. 24. Synthesis and options development will run through February 2010.

Formulating and executing a plan that will carry the Medical Center through the next five decades requires a meticulous attention to detail and lots of input, Powe said.

“We have to be very careful and we have to involve a lot of people,” Powe said. “We have to make sure internally, we involve the faculty, employees, the students and also we have to make sure we involve external audiences also, including alumni foundations, the various communities like Fondren, Belhaven (and area chambers) to make sure we’re planning appropriately. The main thing that’s driving this is making sure we meet the critical needs of our mission of healthcare, academics and research.”

Figuring out where to put new facilities is only half the equation, Powe added. The related infrastructure and surrounding spaces have to be accounted for, too.

“It will cover the facilities that will accommodate those core mission areas,” Powe said. “Also, we have to make sure that as we develop this, we take in mind the infrastructure to support all of it. Whether that’s parking, the power needs, utility needs, the information systems and the other infrastructure, we will need to support this and remain on the cutting edge of providing the support to meet the needs of our critical mission areas.”

Rob Farr, CDFL president and lead developer of the plan, said the plan should act as a roadmap through leadership changes at UMMC.

“This is an active, dynamic and living document,” Farr said. “It is vested in the knowledge and the intellect of Medical Center leadership. As leadership changes or as knowledge grows, the governance model will allow the plan to change smoothly and competently.”

The last master facilities plan UMMC adopted was 20 years ago, and was in place for the construction of the Arthur C. Guyton Research Center.

The aim of Powe and the rest of the Master Planning Steering Committee is that the latest plan will help develop UMMC into a life sciences corridor that stretches from the Jackson Medical Mall to the UMMC campus.

“Now is a critical time,” Powe said, “to make sure we are developing our facilities, and infrastructure to support those facilities, and putting them in the appropriate place to make sure that as we develop the medical school for the future, we’re putting in place those things that we need in order to prepare our healthcare providers for the future. We have to make sure that we’re meeting our researchers’ needs as they conduct the world-class research that they do. We have to make sure we’re meeting the healthcare needs of the people of Mississippi, in that we make sure we’re providing access to healthcare at the Medical Center.”

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