Idaho's first medical school under construction

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho's first medical school will open it's doors next August. The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine is affiliated with Idaho State University and will be located in Meridian. They say that construction is ahead of schedule.

The 94,000 sq. feet building is anticipated to help the doctor shortage in the state. Idaho is ranked 50th when it comes to primary care physicians per capita and 49th in overall physicians per capita. Students were moving out of state to go to medical school. Once they became doctors they weren't moving back.

"ICOM is going to be a game changer. We're going to positively affect healthcare for generations to come not only for Idaho but for the whole region," says Dr. Robert Hasty, the founding dean.

For years lawmakers have been trying to get a medical school here to help solve this problem. Although the school will be in Meridian students will have a chance to go to different areas in the state.

"For two years they'll be here in Meridian at the medical school training in an environment that's going to train them to be excellent physicians in everything from anatomy to biochemistry, all the medical experience you'd expect. Then in their third and fourth year, they'll go to core sites throughout Idaho and throughout the region," says Dr. Hasty.

The construction cost is $35 million. They say there will be other cost associated with it, for example fixtures and furnishing.

But tuition is a different story.

"Our tuition will always be less than the national average for private medical schools," 

They have some big plans.

"Three stories, this is the auditorium portion and it has two 250 seat lecture hall. One thing that unique about ICOM is we have two rows per tier and what that does is it enables team-based learning strategies which is going to be ideal for the students of the future."

Which is something they take pride in.

"We're excited about this project we love showing this project off," says Chris Wilson, project manager and director of facilities.