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On Friday night the Medical Student Senate hosted a fundraiser at 222 Richmond St. for the renovations that will transform it into Alpert Medical School's new Medical School Education Building. With drywall pieces scattered on the floor, large holes in walls, light fixtures missing and orange spray paint decorating the walls, the building — whose renovations were approved by the Corporation last month — is a work in progress.
"We're going to shell this whole thing," said Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Edward Wing. Renovations are scheduled to officially begin on April 26, but the University has received demolition permits that allowed some work to begin earlier, Wing wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

The event, attended mostly by medical students, faculty and University administrators, raised funds for the building's renovations. A private donor has committed to contribute twice as much as the senate raises overall, said Patrick Worth MD'11, president of the Medical Student Senate. Friday's event alone raised $900, which with the donor's two-to-one match will bring the total raised to $2,700, Worth wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

The event was held on the building's second floor. Painted lines on the floor outlined where walls and openings would be constructed, and written descriptions showed that the space would become classrooms, a lounge and part of the building's atrium.

Despite the construction in progress, the building appeared relatively intact.
"I expected rafters, pillars, beams," said Steve Lee MD'11, secretary of the Senate.
The building is going to separate each medical class into its own academy, Wing said. Each academy will have its own lounge and eating area and will serve as a home for students during their four years at the Med School, he added.

It will be great for students to have their own "home and space" because it will provide study space and better access to resources, Worth said. Having their own space will be very helpful for medical students because main campus facilities close when undergraduates are not in session, Worth said, adding that the Med School operates on a calendar different from that of the College.

The new building will also "foster a better sense of community between upperclassmen and lowerclassmen,"  said Audrey Butcher MD'13, a Senate representative. There are already plans for "academy Olympics" as a form of bonding, she said.

The renovated building will include a large atrium and stairs that will lead up to each floor from the atrium, Wing said. At night, four LED panels will be lit up on the side of the building so "you can see it from College Hill, from downtown," he said.

"Seventy percent of the surface of the building is windows," providing spectacular views of downtown Providence, Wing said.

Anatomy labs with windows, will be a welcome change, Worth said. Their current location in the basement of the Biomedical Center seems more "like a dungeon," he added.

The building has a parking lot next door, which will help make it easily accessible, Lee said.
James Miller MD'10 expressed disappointment that he is graduating and will not be able to use the new building, which is slated for completion in August 2011.

It is "what the Med School needs," he said, adding that it will "push the school in the right direction."

"We're really excited about this building," Worth said.



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