A rendering of the new College of Osteopathic Medicine building planned for the University of New England campus in Portland. Courtesy University of New England

The University of New England plans to use a $30 million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation to relocate its medical school from Biddeford to the Portland campus.

The funding is part of a $500 million philanthropic gift announced last week that includes donations to universities and other organizations to strengthen science and technology education and workforce skills.

The $30 million to UNE will help pay for a $70 million project to relocate the College of Osteopathic Medicine from Biddeford to a new building on the university’s Portland campus, the establishment of an Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice, and expansion of graduate and undergraduate programs on the Biddeford campus.

The medical school will join an array of other health programs in Portland, such as dentistry, pharmacy and nursing, the university said in a news release Tuesday.

“With a truly integrated health care campus, like none other in our region, our health professions students will capitalize on opportunities for cross-professional learning, enhance their team-based competencies and will benefit from amazing new learning spaces that will complement UNE’s existing assets,” UNE President James Herbert said in the release.

UNE is hoping to better integrate the health programs by consolidating them on one campus and further enhance cross-disciplinary work. The move will also benefit the Biddeford campus by allowing it to grow and develop current and new academic programs in the space vacated by the medical program, the university said.

The university is planning on breaking ground on the new 110,000 square foot building in the spring of 2022 with a fall 2023 targeted completion date. The plan is to raise the remainder of the money needed through a combination of public and private funds.

The space is expected to allow the medical college to grow enrollment and will include a digital health teaching center to focus on telehealth and digital health technologies such as wearable devices, robotics and artificial intelligence. It will also include a patient simulation center, flexible classrooms and spaces designed to encourage collaboration and interaction.

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