Jul 27, 2006    #124
Contact: Noemi Rojas, public relations
(816) 235-1520

“Topping Out” ceremony signals health science progress UMKC on track to fortifying Kansas City’s health science ambitions and downtown’s revitalization efforts

On Friday, July 28, 2006, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) will witness and commemorate one of the final, uppermost steel girders being put into place on the new Health Sciences Building (HSB).

The “Topping Out” ceremony marks a new era in health sciences education and research on Hospital Hill as the 227,649 square-foot structure reaches its pinnacle and $50.2 million project-cost mark. Opening of the HSB, which is set for next year, will result in more than 2,200 UMKC students converging on Hospital Hill for health science’s classes. A rendering of the HSB may be found at, or call (816) 235-1520 for a JPG file.

“The HSB will greatly contribute to the city’s downtown revitalization efforts; in fact, the HSB is viewed as one of downtown Kansas City’s top development projects,” said UMKC Chancellor Guy H. Bailey.

The HSB represents UMKC’s most recent implementation of its Hospital Hill master plan which also calls for the construction of a second research facility that will support interdisciplinary, basic, clinical, and translational research.

The Topping Out ceremony follows the chancellor’s announcement last week of the creation of a new institute for translational research. This is an area of science that the Institute of Medicine has identified as a fundamental way to fix a health care delivery system that is failing to “provide consistently high quality care to all Americans.”

Activities for Friday’s Topping Out will feature an opportunity for major donors and stakeholders to memorialize a white commemorative beam with their signatures. Then, after a brief program, a crane will ceremoniously hoist the beam for workers to weld into the structure.

The ceremony is set to begin at 1 p.m. and end by 2 p.m. It will take place on the north side of the HSB, adjacent to the UMKC School of Medicine entrance, 2411 Holmes.

Elected officials slated to attend include Missouri State Senators Charlie Wheeler, Yvonne Wilson, Charlie Shields, and Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes. Construction crew members will join in the festivities following their work shift.


In early 2000, Missouri lawmakers authorized $30.6 million for the HSB. To help expedite the project, former Missouri Governor Bob Holden released $1.7 million planning funds in September 2002. In addition, U.S. Senator Kit Bond helped secure funding for a core proteomics center and laboratory, which will be housed in the new HSB. UMKC secured significant financial support from federal and private donors, including the Hall Family Foundation, the Lester T. Sunderland Foundation and Express Scripts. Many people have worked hard to make this dream a reality.

The HSB will house the UMKC Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy. The building includes research laboratories, a clinical classroom, simulation laboratories, lecture halls, classrooms, and educational and administrative areas. It will offer the latest technology, including human patient simulators in two simulation laboratories.

The facility supports UMKC’s translational research programs by providing needed lab space for interdisciplinary research teams focused on issues such as high-blood pressure, high-risk pregnancy, neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, and drug development and discovery efforts.


• HSB will support UMKC’s robust enrollment growth in the health sciences

• HSB will help alleviate health care shortages in Missouri

Measurable results can be calculated by the high percentages of UMKC health care alumni who remain in the region:

- 75 percent of registered pharmacists in Kansas City earned their degree from UMKC;

- 85 percent of dentists who entered practice after 1990 in Missouri are UMKC alumni; and 90 percent of dentists in Kansas are UMKC alumni.

- More than 90 percent of nursing alumni choose to remain in the region.

• HSB will provide needed space for research labs and increase collaborations with partners in the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute

• HSB will share influence on UMKC’s ability to attract scientific leaders

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) is committed to becoming nationally recognized for its research. UMKC is a core member of the regional life sciences consortium and continues to construct new research laboratories, hire top quality faculty, identify, promote, and establish disease-defined centers of excellence, and enlarge our research infrastructure.

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.


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