Washington State University's board of regents on Friday approved the designs for a teaching health clinic on the WSU Spokane campus.
The Spokane Teaching Health Center is a consortium of WSU, Providence Health Care and Empire Health Foundation.
While the $16 million clinic is not directly related to efforts to build a new medical school in Spokane, the clinic would serve as a teaching health center for medical residents and provide health care services to the community at little or no cost.
Construction is expected to begin early next year.
Washington State University wants to create its own medical school, contending the University of Washington does not produce nearly enough doctors to meet the state's needs.
The regents voted unanimously in September to move forward with the plan to design and build a medical school after hearing from MGT of America, Inc., a consulting firm which concluded WSU was "well positioned" to create its own medical school on the Spokane campus.
Funding and other issues regarding a new medical school will be before the state Legislature this session.
The proposed Spokane Teaching Health Center is a 42,623-square-foot, two-story building, which will contain more than 50 examination rooms, as well as staff offices and work areas, meeting rooms, a multipurpose room and a reception area.
The project was undertaken by WSU in order to address a statewide problem concerning a lack of medical residency slots, which is a barrier to expanding medical school education.