A virtual sketch of what the outside of the new Heritage Hall will look like. The project is set to be completed in December 2020. (Photo Courtesy: Ohio University)

New HCOM Building Brings New Amenities and Curriculum

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ATHENS, Ohio – Ohio University’s new Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine building will be completed at 191 W. Union Street in December 2020. The new facility looks to enhance innovative medical education while also improving research and community outreach.

A $65 million project, the three-story, 120,000-square-foot building will include a fresh food in-house cafe, fitness room, abundance of natural light from skylights, adjustable desk and seating options, non-toxic construction materials, filtered water at every faucet and more. It will be the first WELL Certified Medical Education Building on Ohio University’s campus, meaning that every part of the building will have wellness linked to it.

The building will be known as Heritage Hall and will honor the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and osteopathic medicine as a whole, according to HCOM CEO Beth Maxon.

On top of the amenities it provides, Heritage Hall intends to promote a team-based style of learning with rooms that can be transformed from older, lecture-hall style rooms of the past. The new building will have fewer lecture-style classes and more collaboration between students and professors.

Project Manager Noel Davis said collaboration is important for medical students to get the most out of their learning experience.

“In this curriculum you work in small groups connected to all three of our campuses. So we have two other campuses developed within the last five years in Dublin and Cleveland. As a team-based group, you’re connected to your other campuses,” Davis said.

A potential view of the building from Factory Street (Photo Courtesy: Ohio University)

Heritage Hall will also be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, according to the HCOM website. LEED is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Having all new buildings be LEED-certified is a university standard for all new construction projects.

In terms of funding, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation will account for a third of the building’s funds, according to Maxon. The rest of money will be facilitated by Ohio University over time along with $5 million from the Heritage College. The Ohio University Board of Trustees originally committed $9 million to the facility in January 2019, but has since increased that total to over $30 million.

Maxon said the building will significantly enhance the HCOM program and the overall experience for medical education students at OU.

“This is a huge breakthrough for HCOM just because we’ve recently transitioned our curriculum to be patient-based curriculum and team-based curriculum. So this is an opportunity to build a new curriculum and a new building at the same time, which not a lot of medical schools have that opportunity,” Maxon said.