New MUA campus underway - Contributed by Sandeep Kaul and Mark Dunham

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 39            October 23, 2003

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View of MUA building under construction

The pace of construction at the long awaited, new campus of Medical University of the Americas (MUA-Belize) sped up last week with the second half of the concrete framework being completed in less than four days. Currently, the main foundations for the $5,000,000US University Village project is well underway, being readied for the next phase of the huge building process.

    In less than two years, the existing campus of the Medical University of the Americas-Belize has begun to feel much smaller to both students and faculty. In particular, the increase in student population and the addition of new professors over the last two semesters has made the former Belize Yacht Club Convention Center bulge at the seams. With every bit of space at the current campus being occupied by classes at all times throughout the day, the timing of the construction was well planned by Drs. Jeff and Renae Sersland.

    From its planning stage, the design for the new MUA campus included a significant difference from other medical educational facilities in the Caribbean. The design focused on creating an all-encompassing space, not only for medical education, but also for medical student lifestyle, especially those students with families living on the island. Other greatly anticipated features of the plans include larger classrooms, laboratory facilities, and an area for a "Trauma Center" with immediate ambulatory assistance.

    The project, from start to finish, will consist of three phases as follows: Phase I encompasses 30,000 square feet which will include four lecture halls, 20 offices, a library, a computer lab, a histology lab, a microbiology lab, a cafeteria, and a large courtyard theater for events. Phase II encompasses 15,000 square feet and will include a separate anatomy lab, a board review center, a clinical skills lab, and a trauma center with ambulatory care. Phase III encompasses 15,000 square feet and will include an additional lecture hall, two additional labs, and a research and development facility.

    Construction of the new school is ahead of schedule and expected to remain so throughout the continuing phases. The first occupants are expected to be able to move into their new facilities by early next year.

    MUA is the first and only medical school to be issued the "Government of Belize Standardized Charter". All other medical schools within the country will have to comply with these strict new guidelines. MUA has a spotless record and boasts a United States Medical Licensing Examination pass rate of 80% with one student scoring in the top 2%. This, accompanied by 61 affiliations with ACGME-accredited hospitals in the US, makes them the up-and-coming star in offshore medical education.

    Upon its completion, MUA will be able to boast the largest campus of all Caribbean medical schools and the only medical school in the country of Belize with a permanent campus and US comparability standards.  Plans for additional projects are underway and include a theater, water park, restaurants, a Green Reef building, 20 residential homes and a tourist center.
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