A new building at the OSU Center for Health Sciences that will house both new school facilities and the eastern office of the state’s chief medical examiner got its official introduction to the community Thursday.
A ribbon-cutting and open house were held for the recently completed North Hall on the campus at 1111 W. 17th St.
The four-story, 120,000-square-foot building — a collaboration between Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner — is home to the latter’s Tulsa-based office, along with the school’s new anatomy and neuroanatomy labs, classrooms, and administrative and department offices.
“It’s fabulous,” said Dr. Dennis Blankenship, interim dean of the school. “As we’ve grown over the years, that growth has been awesome, but it’s caused us to be kind of cramped, with a lot of our facilities also becoming a little bit dated. This solves a lot of that, and it’s just a gorgeous, gorgeous building.”
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Officials said the final project cost is not known yet but is expected to come in significantly under the budgeted $62 million.
The Medical Examiner’s Office contributed $22 million toward the total.
The office, which relocated from its previous site on the campus, occupies parts of the first and second floors.
It has almost three times the space it did before, officials said.
“We’ve been talking about this for years,” said Dr. Josh Lanter, deputy chief medical examiner. “It’s one of those moments we’ve always hoped for, but it’s turned out even better than we ever anticipated.”
He said the office, which serves 25 counties, has seen its caseload rise substantially the last few years.
“This is going to help us out a lot with turnaround time,” Lanter said. “We now can hire new people for staff and we’re already in the process of doing that — more doctors, more administrative staff, more path techs.”
The new facility expands the number of autopsy tables from two to eight.
“We have six doctors currently, and now we can all work at the same time,” Lanter said.
“This building is built for 20 to 30 years down the road, so it allows us to continue to grow,” he added.
Blankenship said one of the highlights for OSU officials is the new anatomy lab.
“It’s a whole other level than what we had before,” he said.
The lab, which is used by OSU medical, physician assistant and athletic training students, can accommodate many more students than the old lab and has dedicated space for review and study.
The storage cooler is twice the size of the previous one, and neuroanatomy has its own lab in the new facility.
The top floor of the building is devoted mainly to administration. It includes the offices of the president, provost, administrative offices, the Office of Research and executive board room.
“New facilities like this help us attract and educate the state’s best and brightest students,” said Dr. Johnny Stephens, OSU Center for Health Sciences president. “As we celebrate 50 years of our College of Osteopathic Medicine on our campus, we look forward to continuing our mission to educate primary care physicians for rural and underserved Oklahoma.”
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