Archive for Sunday, August 14, 2011

New School of Pharmacy building designed with students in mind

The new School of Pharmacy building, pictured on the north side of the Monarch Watch station on West Campus, offers many amenities to students and the public. A cafe and a soda fountain serve up food and drink, and a storm shelter is open to the public during severe weather. Visitors are also welcome to view the small museum in the building.

The new School of Pharmacy building, pictured on the north side of the Monarch Watch station on West Campus, offers many amenities to students and the public. A cafe and a soda fountain serve up food and drink, and a storm shelter is open to the public during severe weather. Visitors are also welcome to view the small museum in the building.

August 14, 2011

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When fifth-year pharmacy student Fred Davis shuttles to Kansas University for class, it’s not an in-and-out affair.

He might spend his whole day there.

Davis usually drives in the morning to the School of Pharmacy on West Campus. With the building still and quiet, Davis holes up in one of the many study rooms throughout the building so he can pore over his material. As his schedule permits, he’ll study until lunch, then amble over to Mortar and Pestle, the cafe tucked inside the KU School of Pharmacy, and order a bacon cheeseburger. Then he’ll tote his lunch to one of the study rooms and eat with his peers until his next class starts.

“This building was built with the student in mind,” Davis says. “They really did a good job making it so that you can do everything you need to do right there in that building.”

The Pharmacy School building opened in August 2010, completing its first full academic year in May. The three-story building, with 110,000-plus square feet, was built to create new space so the program could expand enrollment from 105 students to 150. And each of the state-of-the-art classrooms is heaped with televideo technology, allowing the distance learning program to truly bloom. The Pharmacy School now broadcasts into northeast and central Kansas.

“We are just wired to the gills, which is how we’re able to expand to the Wichita campus,” says Jackie Hosey, communications coordinator for the school.

Ken Audus, dean of pharmacy, says the program should project into India soon. There are also talks under way that might lead to the school’s expansion into Saudi Arabia and China.

But for now, on-campus students are impressed with many of the features the new building has, features that weren’t present in Malott Hall, where the pharmacy program was located for more than 50 years.

One of the main features of the building is its café, Mortar and Pestle. The diner has many standard menu items — sandwiches, salads, wraps -- but it also offers hot entrées and vegetarian options. Usually during the semester, there are two unique entrées a day.

But one last hurdle for the Pharmacy School is pulling in people not associated with the graduate school. Though the building has been open a year, it still lacks signage.

“A lot of people have trouble finding the new building,” Audus says. “It’s here, it’s available and we’d like to see it used by everyone.”

The Mortar and Pestle cafe is a desirable location for lunch because it’s not as crowded as the main campus, Audus says. And it’s relatively healthy.

“For somebody like me they can make stuff low-cal,” he says. “They’ve done an excellent job trying to provide a variety of options that are a little different than what you find in the other locations on campus.”

The cafe is just one of the highlights at the Pharmacy School. Another big feature: an old-fashioned soda fountain. The soda fountain sells dishes such as the Naismith Sundae (vanilla ice cream with cookie crumbles, peaches, whipped cream and a cherry) and fizzy drinks, which replicate the phosphate concoctions common in the 1940s.

The building also contains a FEMA shelter for use during severe weather or other emergencies. Housed in the basement, the giant open area contains a string of student lockers, an emergency shower, a TV and a couple of couches. The TV’s main function is to tune in during a storm.

“This is a public shelter and available to anyone in the area,” Audus says. “If there’s a storm coming (people nearby) can come in and take refuge here.”

The Pharmacy School also contains a small museum, which chronicles the evolution of pharmacy.

Hosey says some people have popped in off the street to stroll through the museum, and visitors are welcome to visit the building.

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