Marquette University opens $18.5 million physician assistant studies building

Will accommodate more students in high-demand program

The new $18.5 million Physician Assistant Studies Building, located at the northwest corner of West Clybourn and North 17th streets.

Last updated on September 11th, 2019 at 01:44 pm

Marquette University recently opened a new 44,000-square-foot physician assistant studies facility to accommodate its newly expanded program.

The $18.5 million Physician Assistant Studies Building, located at the northwest corner of West Clybourn and North 17th streets, is the third new building to open on the university’s campus in the past year.

It’s a response to the growing demand for enrollment in Marquette’s PA program. The program received nearly 1,400 applications for the available seats in 2018, and interest continues to grow by approximately 10 percent per year, the university said.

The new facility will allow the university to produce 75 PA graduates annually, up from 55. Marquette’s PA program was formerly located at the northwest corner of North 17th and West Wells streets in a former clinic that was constructed in 1954.

“We’re really excited about this state-of-the-art facility because it’s going to allow us to produce graduates that can help answer the shortage in primary care providers,” said William Cullinan, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Features of the building include an amphitheater-style lecture hall, classrooms and a simulation center with a medical suite, which includes rooms that simulate an inpatient and emergency department setting, equipped with sophisticated mannequins that “bleed, cry and sweat,” Cullinan said.

Exposure to the building’s technology will better prepare students to go onto clinical rotations, said Mary Jo Wiemiller, chair and clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies.

“Probably the largest upgrade has been our simulation center and our medical suite. We have 19 rooms that will facilitate us seeing standardized patients in OSCE (objective structured clinical examination) events, as well as high-fidelity technology in the simulation center,” Wiemiller said.

C.D. Smith was the construction management firm for the project; HGA and Groth Design were the architects.

The university will celebrate the building’s dedication on Oct. 3.

The Physician Assistant Studies Building is the latest of several recent additions to the Marquette campus.

In April, Marquette opened its new $24 million Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, located at the corner of West Wells and North 12th streets, which houses research space, labs for human performance research, locker rooms for the lacrosse and golf teams, and strength and conditioning spaces for the athletic department.

In fall 2018, the university opened The Commons, a new $108 million residence hall on the northwest end of campus.

“What you see with The Commons is a brand new student life facility that responded to our student needs, the student experience,” said Lora Strigens, vice president for planning and facilities management. “With this new Physician Assistant Studies building, it’s the first new academic building on this campus since 2011. And then you have the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, which really speaks to our vision of partnership and engagement and interdisciplinary research. The three buildings are a good example of the priorities of the (Marquette University Campus Master) Plan.”

The immediate focus moving forward will be “mid-scale and incremental” projects that will improve facilities around campus, Strigens said.

“We’re always excitedly working towards the next big capital project, but right now we’re in planning stages on most of those,” she said.

Currently underway is the demolition of McCormick Hall at 1530 W. Wisconsin Ave.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.