The sun shone brightly on the Coe College campus as more than 120 people gathered to celebrate the ceremonial start of the construction phase of the David and Janice McInally Center for Health and Society (CHS) September 30. Members of the Coe, Cedar Rapids and local medical communities reviewed the architectural renderings of the future facility, heard about the impact the CHS will have on the region and signed their names on a steel beam that will be used in construction of the building.
The CHS facility will be a space dedicated to advising, mentoring and preparing students for careers in the growing health care industry. It is named for Coe President Emeritus David McInally and former First Lady Janice McInally. Dave served as Coe’s 15th president from July 2013 until the end of 2020. He recently was succeeded by David T. Hayes ’93 as the 16th president. Both were instrumental in implementing the college’s current strategic plan, A Bolder Coe, of which the CHS is a critical component.
President Hayes, Coe Trustee Dr. Tim Sagers ’97 and Coe Board of Trustees Chair Ken Golder ’82 addressed event attendees, and all shared a similar message: The CHS will have a transformative impact on health care locally and on a broader scale.
“The CHS will be a rare place — a place where all students from any major or area of study can be exposed to the complex health care ecosystem by didactic work, clinical exploration, internships and research,” said Sagers, who is the medical director of MercyCare Business Health Solutions and a doctor with MercyCare Community Physicians. “Coe’s proximity to the MedQuarter will allow us to strengthen our relationships and build new opportunities with our partners in the MedQuarter at Mercy, UnityPoint and Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa. Our work at the CHS will garner much attention and will allow Coe to build new opportunities near and far.”
Sagers also noted construction of the CHS comes at an opportune time, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am optimistic that we are about to witness an explosion of health care-related innovation and a significant retooling of the health care system, and our students, faculty and staff here at the CHS will lead the way,” he said.
Local health care and business organizations attending in support of the project included The Hall-Perrine Foundation, Mercy Medical Center, UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, MedQuarter Regional Medical District, Family Caregivers Center of Mercy, Rock Valley Physical Therapy, East Central Iowa Acute Care Emergency Medicine and Dental Equipment and Supply.
“Seeing the Coe community and MedQuarter leaders come together for the steel signing offered an exciting preview of the enhanced partnerships the CHS will foster,” said President Hayes. “Initiatives of this magnitude cannot happen without incredible collaboration and trusted partnerships, and we are grateful to have these in abundance at Coe. This event was a fitting way to kick off the construction phase of this transformative project.”
Funding for the CHS has come in the form of several generous lead gifts from alumni and friends of the college, as well as significant support from local foundations, including from the Esther and Robert Armstrong Charitable Trust, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust and a $700,000 challenge grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation of Cedar Rapids. The CHS will open in the fall of 2022.