BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Alice L. Walton School of Medicine breaks ground on its 14-acre lot dedicated to a new medical education campus on Thursday.

The AWSOM was founded in 2021 and will offer a four-year program that “builds on conventional medicine with a compassionate, inclusive, and whole health approach”, according to the school’s press release.

The school plans to welcome a class of 48 students to be the inaugural class in 2025. The AWSOM will be located east of Crystal Bridge Museum of Art and north of the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville and will be connected through the walking trails.

“Northwest Arkansas is unique in its entrepreneurial spirit, focus on quality of life, natural resources, and thriving art scene,” said School of Medicine founder, Alice Walton. “This campus will bring together nature, art, innovation, and well-being to create an inspiring environment for learning.”

The 154,000-square-foot project is led by Arkansas-based architects Polk Stanley Wilcox. According to the release, the building is planned to be four stories and will feature learning halls, a public gallery, a library, clinical teaching spaces, administrative offices, a student lounge, a theater, recreation and wellness areas, and underground parking as well as an entry-level parking area for visitors.

Plans also mention an extension to the walking trails around the school to support biking and other activities. The landscape will house outdoor classrooms, healing gardens, urban farm space, and a rooftop terrace featuring a cafe and an amphitheater.