UAMS’ Reynolds Institute on Aging Celebrates Four-story Expansion with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

By Jon Parham

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., welcomed today’s gathering, which included Fred W. Smith, chairman of the Reynolds Foundation; Donald R. Bobbitt, Ph.D., president of the University of Arkansas System; and Jeanne Y. Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging and professor and chair of the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine. A reception and tours followed on the fifth floor.

“We are extremely grateful to the Reynolds Foundation for making this expansion possible and for believing in what UAMS is doing to help meet the needs of the state’s aging population,” Rahn said.

The 55,000-square-foot vertical expansion brings the institute to eight floors and is made possible by $30.4 million of a $33.4 million Reynolds Foundation gift in 2009. The expansion adds more basic and clinical research laboratories, classrooms and office space to the award-winning facility that houses a primary care clinic (Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic), a fitness center with a therapy pool (Ottenheimer Fitness Center) and a beautiful and spacious multi-purpose auditorium (Jo Ellen Ford Auditorium).

The Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics educational program ranks No. 7 on the U.S. News & World Report magazine prestigious list of graduate school programs in the United States. Finding new ways to improve care of older adults is the ultimate goal of the institute’s team of more than 40 full-time researchers. Spacious research laboratories make up three out of four floors in the futuristic open floor plan:

• Fifth floor: The centerpiece of the building and home to the Walker Center for Interdisciplinary Research Training as well as the prestigious NIA-funded Arkansas Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center

• Sixth floor: Cutting-edge basic sciences wet lab space and home to the Lyon Cardiovascular Aging Research Center

• Seventh floor: Space for bench-top research and human subject studies and home to the Center for Translational Research on Aging and Longevity

• Eighth floor: Multiple classrooms and meeting spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration and home to the administrative offices for programs of the Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics

Alan Schlossberg, with the innovative firm of Perkins Eastman Architects, designed the expansion with local assistance from Polk Stanley Wilcox. Nabholz Construction Services was the general contractor.

“This expansion will make a huge difference in our ability to meet the needs of the elderly in Arkansas and to train clinicians as well as researchers who want to specialize in geriatrics and gerontology,” Wei said.

In March, UAMS dedicated two bronze outdoor sculptures and a new 396-foot pedestrian bridge connecting the Reynolds Institute with the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute. The bridge is named for John V. Schlereth, of Little Rock, a former Reynolds Foundation trustee and a past chair of the UAMS Foundation Fund Board, and was funded by the same gift that built the expansion.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $200 million to improving the lives of elderly people in Arkansas and throughout the United States.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or