Medicine is a team sport, and we’re making sure how our medical students learn is as well.

Renovations to the Volker Hall Education Tower will transform the building’s second floor into a new active learning center, which will help our school continue fostering a collaborative environment where our students come together.

Through a generous lead gift from the Heersink Family Foundation, the active learning center will feature a “flipped classroom,” where students collaborate in small groups, using digital teaching tools, while the instructor moves between them. The focus on discussion and interaction helps students delve deeply into topics and develop communication and problem-solving skills quickly.

To create space for the active learning center, the tower’s sixth floor will be transformed into administrative and small group space to be used by faculty, students and staff. Plans for the floor include 20 offices, 20 work stations, three small group rooms, three communal work/study spaces, six individual restrooms and a dedicated nursing room.

With the support of the Heersink family, we will also renovate the front door of Volker Hall to create a new, modern atrium for the building—a beautiful addition that will shape the School of Medicine’s footprint on UAB’s main campus corridor.

“Medicine is a team sport. Students must actively learn to solve and discuss complex scenarios together. The Heersink family’s generous gift, as well as the planned sixth floor renovations, will enable us to transform and modernize our learning space and develop a welcoming space for students to interact with and engage each other.”

Craig Hoesley, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean, Medical Education
Chair, Department of Medical Education

Construction Timeline

Construction began on the renovation of the sixth floor in July 2021 and was completed in March 2022. Renovations to the second floor for the Active Learning Center begin in mid-July 2022 and are expected to be complete in spring 2023. 

6th Floor

  • Pre-Construction 
  • Active Construction (current stage)
  • Punch List, Inspections & Clean Up
  • Move-In/Completed

2nd Floor

  • Pre-Construction 
  • Active Construction (current stage)
  • Punch List, Inspections & Clean Up
  • Move-In


  • Pre-Construction (current stage)
  • Active Construction
  • Punch List, Inspections & Clean Up
  • Move-In

Construction Updates

Demolition of the second floor is expected to be complete at the end of August. The Active Learning Center is expected to be finished in spring 2023.

Together, we can shape the future of training at UAB.

Inspired by the example set by the Heersinks, we have identified additional naming opportunities to help complete the transformation of Volker Hall’s sixth floor to house space for active, dynamic medical education.

For more information on these and other naming opportunities, contact Erica Hollins at 205-996-6839 or

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