City of Wichita to buy, revamp Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park as downtown medical school entrance

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Editors note: This story has been updated to reflect that the organization is in the application phase, seeking accreditation.

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – In a 7-0 vote, the Wichita City Council voted to acquire part of the Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park in another step toward building a downtown medical school, culinary school, hotel, and student housing building.

The development agreement as a whole was approved back in November. The city agreed to provide some financial incentives as well as making $1.3 million in renovations to Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park, which will become the entrance to the new medical school, Kansas Health Science Center.

The park’s namesake is one of the most recognizable names in the region for civil rights. City councilman Brandon Johnson re-iterated the importance of outreach to Lewis’s family and the local NAACP of the changes.

“There will be outreach. A meeting will be coming soon and this is not an attempt to get rid of the reflection square,” Johnson said.

Public engagement on the re-design is expected.

The developer is Douglas Market Development LLC.

The $75 million project as a whole is a conversion of the former State Office Building, former Sutton Building, former Broadway Plaza and the former Henry’s building.

The Kansas Health Science Center and the proposed Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine is currently in the application phase, seeking accreditation with hopes of welcoming its first class in the late summer of 2022.

“We continue to work with the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) to pursue candidacy status and are finalizing architectural plans to begin construction on the college,,” Dr. Joel Dickerman, Dean and Chief Academic Officer at Kansas Health Science Center said.

Meanwhile, the school is busy hiring staff, tripling the number of employees since February of 2020.

Further details on the construction can be found in this story from May 2019.

A peek inside the space can be found in this story from August 2019.

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