A new facility will be built to house the School of Medicine and other health programs, bringing Creighton closer to being the top provider of Catholic health sciences education in the U.S., said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson.

The $75 million project, poised to be completed by fall 2023, will be funded by a donation from C.L. and Rachel Werner, the president said at his annual convocation on Feb. 2.

“I am grateful to C.L. and Rachel, Omaha philanthropists and longtime Creighton benefactors, for their generosity, and I am humbled by the faith they have placed in Creighton’s mission to continue to transform health sciences education,” Hendrickson said in an email.

The C.L. Werner Center for Health Sciences Education will be built on the northwest corner of the Omaha campus, near Interstate 480, Highway 75 and Cuming Street. The building will be a shared facility for classrooms, clinical simulation, performance laboratories and School of Medicine administration offices.

“It’s largely an educational function,” said Dr. Bo Dunlay, dean of the School of Medicine. “Some of it will be used to facilitate team building activities that are interprofessional by nature.”

The space will allow students and faculty of multiple disciplines — including medicine, nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral health and other programs — to work together.

“When we take care of patients, it’s never just one individual providing care to a patient. It’s always a group of individuals,” Dunlay said. "We're going to look for activities that simulate real life.”

The building is being designed by the Midwest-based architecture firm RDG, which is the same firm that designed the similar health sciences space at Creighton’s Phoenix campus, Provost Mardell Wilson said.

Wilson said there was prior planning and “dreaming sessions” for the renovation that started a couple years ago. She has recently acted as a liaison between the academic and architectural teams.

The adjacent Criss Criss complex, which will be connected to the Werner Center by an enclosed, raised walkway, will also be receiving a $10 million renovation.

“There’s actually ‘a bridge’ between the undergraduate programs and the professional schools,” Wilson said, “so greater integration of all of our programs at Creighton, which I’m pleased to see.”

Hendrickson said the changes will result in $700,000 of savings each year from “a more efficient use of space.”

“I am extremely grateful to the Werners for the confidence they have placed in Creighton, and I am correspondingly appreciative of our exemplary students and alumni, and our talented faculty and staff, who bring our educational mission to life,” Hendrickson said.

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