Phoenix Biomedical Campus Gets $15 Million in Stimulus Funds

Federal Grant Awarded for Lab Facility in Downtown Phoenix
PHOENIX – The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $15 million grant to build lab support facilities, immediately creating at least 250 jobs, as part of the planned expansion of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University.

“This grant will allow us to build a shared resource facility supporting all the great life-saving research going on at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus,” said William M. Crist, MD, vice president for health affairs for the University of Arizona. “The NIH has acknowledged that our research in cardiovascular, cancer and neurological areas is critical to the development of the biomedical campus.”

The Phoenix Biomedical Campus is host to the medical college (an expansion of the UA College of Medicine in Tucson), ASU’s Department of Biomedical Informatics and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

While developing plans to expand the medical college campus, the campus applied for the grant under the NIH’s federal stimulus program to help fund the first phase of the research core to support research activities in the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building. That building houses researchers from both the University of Arizona’s Basic Medical Sciences department and from Arizona State University’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. Faculty members from the departments teach the 120 students now studying medicine as part of the full four-year medical college program in Phoenix, housed in the historic Phoenix Union High School buildings renovated by the City of Phoenix.

“It is truly gratifying to see the federal government recognize the development of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus by bestowing us with this grant,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said. “We have great hopes for the scientists and students on our downtown campus to change our lives with their work.”

The College of Medicine-Phoenix admitted its third class of students last fall. That group of 48 joined a group of 48 students that began in 2008 and the 24 students that made up the first class in 2007.

Expansion plans include the construction of the 268,000-square-foot Health Sciences Education Building, which will house classrooms, a simulation center and more to help the medical college expand its current class size to 120 per year. It also calls for space for UA College of Pharmacy students to begin four-year programs in Phoenix. Until now, UA pharmacy students have only been able to complete their third- and fourth-year studies in Phoenix. The education building also allows ASU to bring nearby College of Nursing and Health Innovation students to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and opens the door for Northern Arizona University to offer allied health courses on the downtown campus, as planned.

The plan, endorsed by the Arizona Board of Regents in December, calls for the construction of the education building and accompanying facilities, as well as improvements to the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative research building on campus.

The education building is part of the overall plan to create a major academic health center in downtown Phoenix that includes TGen, health education facilities, research and clinical areas. The UA College of Medicine is the only MD degree-granting college in Arizona.

The new federal grant will help fund a 22,000-square-foot facility essential for the advancement of some of the biomedical research and is planned to earn LEED Silver certification with sustainability concepts, including recycling, energy efficiency, reduced water use and sustainable site and open space plans. Under the project, about 250 design, engineering and construction jobs would be created and 33 permanent research jobs would be added to the campus. The project is estimated to have an initial economic impact of $27 million. Studies indicate the average return on investment of such projects is seven times the initial cost.