College of Pharmacy building dedication celebrates education, innovation, congregation 22 months after opening

Ten years ago, knowing that the then current University of Iowa College of Pharmacy was woefully undersized and out of date, OPN Architects was hired to help the college determine a new future for the college. After deciding on a standalone building on the health science campus for both the College of Pharmacy and UIP, the University embarked on a campaign to raise funds.

Five years ago, the UI officially broke ground on a new $121-million pharmacy building designed to support students in science and discovery, and entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Twenty-two months ago, the state-of-the-art building – a space commensurate to the college’s world-class contemporary pharmacy education – welcomed its first students, the health care leaders and scientists of the future.

Twenty months ago, the UI shut down in-person classes and all but the most essential research activities.

Last week, the UI was finally able to hold an official dedication ceremony.

Today, the building is finally being used how it was intended. 

“We’re a college family, and that sense of community is at the heart of this new facility.” (College of Pharmacy Dean Donald Letendre)

The 210,000-square-foot building will allow for greater focus on small group, team-based learning and enhanced critical thinking skills, state-of-the-art research space, and utilization of cutting-edge technology, such as patient simulation and 3-D conceptual integration to better address the highly complex interface between pathophysiology and pharmacology.

The focus of the space within the building begins with students — allowing for active learning, flexible classrooms, small groups, and collaboration. Attention in the design of the building was also spent on science and discovery, and entrepreneurship, and innovation. The new facility provides spaces to collect the wisdom of individuals, brainstorm new ideas, and explore and implement new ideas. This are be the first health sciences educational facility built in the U.S. that has embraced Universal Design since its inception. There are be ample space for students, faculty, staff, and colleagues to gather together to build community and a sense of belonging, including Alumni Hall, which welcomes graduates of every age.

“We’ve gone from severe physical limitations to being one of the best facilities in the country. Our teaching has changed dramatically. We have a lot more capability to use lots of different creative strategies, and our assessments are a lot more meaningful for the students.” (Jeff Reist, clinical associate professor and director of the Pharmacy Practice Laboratory)

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