Officials supporting a new four-year medical school in Bentonville announced the next steps in its development Thursday (June 30), including a new name, building plans and location.
The Non-Profit Independent Medical School is the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine† It was previously called Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences from its original announcement in March 2021.
According to a press release, the medical school has… Board of Directors held its first meeting Thursday and voted unanimously to approve the name change.
The medical school is an independent sister organization of Bentonville non-profit Entire health instituteFounded in 2020 by Walmart Inc. heiress and philanthropist Alice Walton to make a transformative approach to health and wellness available to all.
“We are honored to add Alice L. Walton to the name of the School of Medicine, underscoring our founder’s commitment to reshaping medical education,” said Walter Harris, chief operating officer for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, in a statement. “The school remains grounded in health principles and educational philosophies, poised to attract the best talent and create a pipeline for a new generation of health leaders.”
Officials also revealed that the school would be built on approximately 20 acres east of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art along Northeast J Street, north of First Presbyterian Church. A subsidiary of Walton Enterprises, the holding company owned by the heirs of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton, has assembled the property over the past four years.
The college will connect through the museum’s trail system to the Whole Health Institute, which is already under construction further south at the museum entrance on Museum Way.
School officials chose Arkansas-based Polk Stanley Wilcox as lead architects for the medical school construction project, which is still in the design development phase.
“The design integrates the building into both the site and the community, engaging the land as an abstraction of Ozark geology that embraces the principles of integrated medicine, and the holistic link between mental, physical and spiritual well-being,” Wesley said. Walls, a director at Polk Stanley Wilcox.
According to the release, the four-story building will include teaching and small group spaces, a library, clinical teaching spaces, administrative offices, a student lounge, theater, recreation and wellness areas and more. Underground parking, as well as an entry-level parking for visitors, are also part of the design.
Construction on the 154,000-square-foot building will begin in the spring of 2023. The college hopes to welcome its first class in the fall of 2025, pending accreditation. School officials intend to apply for candidate status to: Medical Education Liaison Committee this summer.
Exterior features of the rooftop park and surrounding site, designed by New York-based design studio OSD, focus on the building’s holistic integration with the forests of Crystal Bridges.
The design supports accessible pedestrian and bicycle networks. The landscaping includes a forest meditation and foraging and healing gardens, wetland, outdoor classrooms, urban farming space and a roof terrace connecting to balconies, a cafe and an amphitheatre.
“The School of Medicine is poised to be an inspiring learning environment that supports wellness, emphasizes innovation and equips future physicians to be agents of change,” said Alice Walton. “We are excited to pave the way for the next generation of holistic physicians and health professionals. This unique, site-responsive building welcomes students, staff and visitors to explore this beautiful campus, serving a broader vision of improving the quality of life in our region and beyond.”