ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The University of Missouri-St. Louis is reshaping its south campus with a new $17-million patient care center for its Colleges of Optometry and Nursing. The new 48,000-square-foot facility is being designed by HOK and will enhance and expand the eye care services offered through the existing University Eye Center. The facility will incorporate the latest technology needed to advance eye and vision research and recruit the most highly qualified faculty and students to the college. Scheduled to open in 2016, the facility includes space for campus and community partners to offer complementary healthcare services such as dental and primary care. UMSL has the only optometry program in Missouri and one of just 21 nationwide.
“The HOK team understands what it takes to help us reshape the education setting and create an environment that facilitates the delivery of efficient and high-quality care for our patients,” said Dr. Larry Davis, dean of UMSL’s College of Optometry. “They have offered creative ideas at each step of the planning process that address the functional aspects desired from the building. We look forward to seeing those plans take shape in the coming months.”
Located on a seven-acre landscaped site, the new two-story patient care center will provide space for clinical education and research as well as comprehensive eye and vision care. About 13,000 square feet of space is being programmed for partnership opportunities such as a walk-in clinic and dental-care services. It will replace the existing University Eye Center located since 1980 at Marillac Hall, which was originally designed as a residence hall for nuns.
With a prominent location along Natural Bridge Road, the HOK-designed patient care center will create a new gateway to the university’s district of professional schools south of Natural Bridge. The site design will capitalize on the building’s location adjacent to the UMSL South MetroLink station by creating new pathways to connect the patient care center to mass transit campus wide.
The building’s two-story atrium will capture an abundance of natural light and offer clear wayfinding to four service clusters, including adult eye care, pediatric eye care, contact lens eye care and primary healthcare. A series of clerestory windows above each of the four areas will allow natural light to reach inner corridors and spaces.
Each clinic will feature student-faculty consultation space, individual and group learning space and promote collaboration between the students, faculty and staff.
Funding for the new center came in part from a supplemental fee that will be assessed to optometry students. It is also funded by internal reallocations within the college and campus reserves.
The improvements to the College of Optometry are the first phase of planned capital improvements for the UMSL campus. Future phases of construction will include an additional 200,000 square feet to co-locate all teaching and learning, research and administrative functions for the Colleges of Nursing and Optometry.