Washington State University’s new medical school passed an important milestone Wednesday when it received preliminary accreditation for the school.

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Washington State University’s new medical school has gotten preliminary accreditation from a board that approves U.S. medical schools, keeping the college on track to enroll its first class of students in August 2017.

The preliminary accreditation for the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine was granted Wednesday by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which approves schools in the U.S. and Canada that grant M.D. degrees.

The next step: Approval for membership by the American Association of Medical Colleges, which meets at the end of this month. If the college gets the go-ahead at that meeting, it can begin recruiting its first class of students.

The school plans to use a community-based model of medical education, training new physicians on four campuses — Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver — and aiming to help fill health-care gaps in areas of the state that are either rural or where the population is not well-served by existing health-care organizations.

“This is a significant moment in Washington State University’s 126-year history,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz in a statement. “It puts us one step closer to educating physicians who will practice in Washington’s underserved communities and furthers the university’s land-grant mission to serve the needs of the state.”

The new medical school was approved by the state Legislature in 2015, and named after Floyd, the president of WSU, who died of complications from colon cancer in June of that year. Floyd was the key to winning state support for the new medical school.

The medical school joins the University of Washington as one of only two public medical schools in the state. There is also a private, nonprofit osteopathic medical school, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, in Yakima.