Downtown Phoenix Medical Education Building Gets Review

Legislative Review of Phoenix Biomedical Campus Expansion

March 17, 2010 (Phoenix, Ariz.) - The Arizona Legislature's Joint Committee on Capital Review (JCCR) has included on its March 23 agenda a review of the 268,000-square-foot Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB), part of the planned expansion of The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University in downtown Phoenix. The $187 million expansion of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus - supported by lottery and university dollars, not by the general fund - requires review by the JCCR before the project can break ground.

"We would like to thank House Speaker Kirk Adams for his leadership in helping to see this project through, and Representative Kavanagh, chair of JCCR, for assigning this tri-university project for review," said Ernest Calderon, President of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). "We are one step closer to training much-needed physicians and health-care professionals in Arizona with expanded facilities at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus."

HSEB is part of the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development (SPEED), passed by the legislature and signed into law in 2008. SPEED includes a host of university infrastructure projects to be supported by lottery and university dollars. Because of the state's current economic situation and the growth rate of lottery revenues, ABOR is self-imposing a moratorium on submitting additional SPEED supported projects for JCCR review through August 31, 2011. At that time, ABOR will advance the remaining SPEED projects for JCCR review as resources permit.

"Construction of HSEB will produce an immediate and future positive economic impact for all of Arizona." said Calderon. "But we also recognize the difficult financial position the state is in and the need for efficiency when it comes to allocating Arizona University System resources. This self-imposed moratorium will allow us to proceed without overextending the state or university budgets."

Under the plan, a majority of the funding for the expansion comes from future Arizona Lottery revenues through a financing plan that begins in 2016, though the universities will issue bonds immediately and make interest only payments on them for five years to get the project underway. Once reviewed by JCCR, and bond proceeds become available, construction on HSEB is expected to begin and could start as early as April. Estimates show the construction phase of the project would create 2,000 new jobs. Overall expansion plans for the Phoenix Biomedical Campus could generate $2.1 billion in economic impact annually.

In December, the Arizona Board of Regents endorsed the expansion plan which includes the construction of the HSEB and other improvements on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The project will allow the College of Medicine - Phoenix to expand its class size to at least 110 students per year from its in Phoenix, create space for training students from the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation and bring additional health-related programs from Northern Arizona University to Phoenix.

Leading the push for interdisciplinary education, the building will house classrooms, a simulation center and more. It also calls for space for Pharmacy students to begin four-year programs in Phoenix. Until now, UA pharmacy students have been able to only complete their third- and fourth-year studies in Phoenix. The HSEB building is part of the overall plan to create a major academic health center in downtown Phoenix that includes health education facilities, research, clinical areas and already features the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). It continues the work ABOR and the universities have been building on with the City of Phoenix over the last five years.

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The Arizona Board of Regents is committed to ensuring access for qualified residents of Arizona to undergraduate and graduate instruction; promoting the discovery, application, and dissemination of new knowledge; extending the benefits of university activities to Arizona's citizens outside the university; and maximizing the benefits derived from the state's investment in education. For more information visit www.azregents.edu.

The University of Arizona, Arizona State University and the Arizona Board of Regents agreed to expand the Phoenix campus of the UA College of Medicine to a full, four-year program in 2004. The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University admitted its first class of first-year medical students in August 2007. The College of Medicine - Phoenix has 120 students training to be physicians. The college seeks to promote health and improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease for the people of Arizona and beyond through education, research and patient care.