Politics & Government

Downtown Wichita medical school would be managed by a Chicago-based company

A private medical school planned for downtown Wichita will partner with a Chicago-based company for administrative support services.

The Kansas Health Science Center has been approved to join TCS Education System, according to a news release from TCS on Tuesday morning. TCS is a nonprofit company that specializes in providing administrative services to colleges and would help run the school of osteopathic medicine proposed for Wichita.

“This partnership with Kansas Health Science Center allows us the opportunity to help develop a new educational institution that will service its local community and help meet a growing need in health care,” said R. Edward Bergmark, chair of the TCS board of trustees, in the release.

The Kansas Health Science Center is planned for the former Finney State Office Building, a joined building at 130 S. Market and 230 E. William. It would be part of a downtown revitalization project by pharmacist-turned-developer Sudha Tokala that converts abandoned downtown buildings into student apartments, a Marriott Hotel and a culinary arts program.

“We are only here one time. Our legacy is not who we are but who we touch,” Tokala said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The Kansas Health Science Center joins five other private, nonprofit schools that have partnered with TCS.

TCS provides colleges with marketing, strategic planning, human resources, admission and enrollment services, financing and accounting, information and learning technology, and compliance and legal services. It was founded in 2009.

Kansas Health Science Center still would have autonomy and independence as an institution, said Karla Meier, a spokesperson for TCS. The company will help the school meet its institutional goals, Meier said.

“It was important for us to find a partner with extensive experience in higher education administration,” Tokala is quoted as saying in the news release. Tokala bought the Finney Building in 2017.

Schools already in the TCS system include the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School, The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law, Dallas Nursing Institute and Saybrook University.

TCS operates campuses in 12 cities and has 9,000 students in its system. Its founder and president, Michael Horowitz, had a salary of more than $1.3 million in 2016, according to the most recent Form 990 available on the nonprofit.

The Kansas Health Science Center also has secured degree-granting status from the Kansas Board of Regents. Regents last week tabled a more detailed discussion of the school until its June meeting, but granted it authorization to operate in the state. The board also requested that the school submit an updated report within six months.

The Kansas Health Science Center also received a pledge for more than $15 million from the Riverside Health Foundation, a Wichita nonprofit that was identified as a potential funding source for an osteopathic medical school by a task force appointed in 2017 by then-Gov. Sam Brownback. The foundation’s chairman is Randy Coonrod, of Coonrod and Associates Construction Company.

“We are excited about the opportunity to support advances in the health care field, and feel confident that the partnership between our foundation, KHSC, and TCS Education System will result in great growth for Wichita and the greater Kansas community,” Coonrod said in the news release.

TCS founder and President Michael Horowitz said the company’s mission is “to positively impact the communities in which we are embedded.”

“In Wichita, we are excited to be a part of the revitalization of downtown and to make meaningful connections in the community,” Horowitz said in the release.

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