SCNM Campus Expansion Proceeding to Next Phase

The chance to transform a college comes along once in a generation.  Throughout its first twenty years Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM) has educated medical students, treated patients and conducted research, solely focused on naturopathic medicine. Today,SCNMhas an opportunity to teach more students, help more patients, including the underserved, and reach and empower the public through community education.

Campus Expansion

A 47,000 square foot addition to our Tempe campus will house a teaching kitchen, healthy café, regenerative pain and rehabilitation center, expanded natural medicine dispensary, critically-needed classrooms and student study space, exercise space and will expand our library four-fold. Initiated by our Board of Trustees and catalyzed by generous donations, the project is on track to commence construction in October with a completion date of September 2014.

SCNM is known for its innovations in education, embracing new approaches such as team-based and problem-based learning, and early introduction to clinical training. This new building will expand educational opportunities in ways we’ve never before dreamed, benefiting our growing population of future naturopathic physicians, our incredible community of faculty and staff, and the people in the surrounding community who want to lead a healthier lifestyle. The additional space will enhance our students’ education of treating pain and adds the space to expand and develop new programs aligned with naturopathic principles.SCNM Campus Expansion

The term doctor is derived from the Latin word, doceré, which means to teach.  The teaching kitchen and healthy café will offer our internal and external communities a whole new way of enjoying food.  Nutrition is a fundamental aspect of improving health.  Our doctors and students endeavor to help patients understand how they can make different nutritional choices to improve their wellbeing.

However, if a patient purchases unfamiliar ingredients with limited preparation skills, the joy and benefit of healthy eating gives way to fast food and old eating habits—ultimately ending in frustration. Educating our patients and extended community how to make the changes needed for optimal health will be enhanced by the atmosphere, tools, and examples provided in the new café and teaching kitchen.

The 2011 campus master plan created with the architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross established many of the building’s characteristics including location, footprint, square-footage and many of the internal functions. Newer data (patient utilization at the Medical Center, National Institute of Health data, ND practice demographics) drove our decision to include other functions, e.g., regenerative pain and rehabilitation center. For six months we met with our developer, architects, landscape architects, builders and LEED specialists, to design an exterior that reflects our values, aesthetics as well as our needs. While both of the building’s long sides are beautiful, we incorporated more glass, curves and other features onto the side that faces into the campus (north).

Designing the interior will take place over the next two months. Bryan Mar, our intrepid developer, flew Jain Malkin here from La Jolla to meet with us last month. Thanks to Bryan and trustee Avein Taffoya, Jain agreed to come out of retirement to take on this project. Jain is one of the most respected practitioners of evidence-based design in the world and the genius behind the most spectacular and functional facilities in the country.

During this next phase the SCNM community will engage with Jain and our architects to share input on the interior design.  Our architects will meet approximately weekly for the next couple of months with different groups (e.g., Library) and constituencies (Faculty & Staff Senates, SGA) for input. This input will play an important role in shaping the building’s flow, look and feel. Executive Council and our developer will incorporate this information along with our space needs, funding limits, environmental imperatives and timing into the final design.

This is an exciting time for SCNM and the naturopathic profession. In fact, it marks the first original building of its kind in the field.

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