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Construction Of Susan And Henry Samueli College Of Health Sciences Begins

UCI began the construction of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences facility last month, two years after Orange County philanthropists Susan and Henry Samueli made a $185 million donation. Construction is set to finish by fall quarter of 2022.

The college will be located on the corner of Bison and California and will occupy a nine acre plot. The complex will include a five story, 108,200 square foot facility for the College of Health Sciences — which will house the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute —, a  four story, 71,500 square foot building for the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, and a space for the pending School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences building.

The college will also include landscape designs for holistic exercise — such as yoga and tai chi —, a Zen garden, a 150-seat auditorium, a 600-foot “wellness walk” that connects with the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Research Center and a large central courtyard shared with the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

“The project is being designed to meet LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] Platinum,” said Tom Vasich, Director of UCI Media Relations. 

The site of the college will have native, low-water use plants — complying with UCI’s 2016 Reforestation plan —, as well as the use of highly reflective paving materials in the central courtyard that will reduce the intensity of the heat-island effect —  which occurs when an urban area is significantly warmer than its outside rural areas.

The Samueli Foundation previously donated over $70 million dollars to UCI, including a $30 million-dollar donation towards a convergent science building and a $20 million-dollar naming gift for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering in 1999. The Samueli’s private-public partnership with UCI also led to the access of $50 million dollars in state funds, allocated by UCOP.

“The College of Health Sciences will be integrating teaching and research in its four core areas – medicine, nursing, population health, and pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences – in innovative and distinctive ways. This will create a template for how the health sciences are taught, researched and practiced in the United States,” said Vasich. “It’s an entire-campus approach to the awesome commitment for preserving and improving personal and community health.”

The College of Health Sciences will be the first university institution focused on incorporating the practices and teachings of integrative health within all of the underlying schools and programs of health sciences.

Integrative healthcare is the implementation of conventional medicine alongside evidence-based complementary medicine.  It focuses on the physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that alter an individual’s health, lifestyle and self-care routine. 

“Integrative health means a focus on health, not disease. Nursing has always had such a focus and it is exciting to know that other disciplines have realized the importance of focusing on health modalities overall and not just disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The College of Health Sciences is committed to research and practice that aims to improve health and wellbeing,” Nursing Professor Miriam Bender said.

Ethan Johnson is a Campus News Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. He can be reached at ethanrj1@uci.edu.