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ASU plans to end partnership role in downtown Phoenix med school

Proposed Health Sciences Education Building, Phoenix Biomedical Campus

[Source: Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic] — When the University of Arizona opened a college of medicine in downtown Phoenix in 2006, the endeavor was hailed as a national model, given the heavy involvement of its long-standing rival, Arizona State University.  Now, a scant three years later, that partnership is likely ending — the latest victim of state budget cuts.  ASU officials confirmed that they plan to pull out of the project and that early next month, the Arizona Board of Regents will vote whether to give full operating responsibilities for the school to UA.

University and regents officials said Friday that ASU’s impending departure will not impact the students, the school’s accreditation or its planned $187 million expansion into a new medical building.  “ASU has a lot of other responsibilities, and this wasn’t their top priority.  It was UA’s,” said Dr. William Crist, UA’s vice president for health affairs.  “At the end, they (ASU officials) felt squeezed financially.”

The announcement comes as UA is preparing to break ground on the five-story Health Sciences Education Building near Seventh and Van Buren streets.  The new building will allow the medical school to gradually expand class size to 110 students annually, up from the current 48.  The building is being financed with bonds that will be paid off with Arizona Lottery revenue, but the universities are expected to pay 20 percent of the total costs.  Crist said UA hopes to cover those expenses through fund-raising; it already has a $15 million federal grant to put toward construction.  [Note: To read the full article, visit ASU plans to end partnership role in downtown Phoenix med school.]

Growth may stall for UA medical school in downtown Phoenix

UA medical school, downtown Phoenix (Photo: Arizona Daily Star)

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — The University of Arizona wants to rapidly expand its medical school in downtown Phoenix to ensure a steady supply of medical workers for the state and an economic punch for the center city.  But university officials say the school’s growth is in jeopardy because of the state’s budget troubles and lawmakers’ reluctance to release $400 million in state Lottery funds to expand the campus.  The money would pay for two new buildings — an education building and a research building — that would house students, faculty, and scientists and anchor the biomedical campus.

University officials say the campus is simply running out of space and cannot match the state’s need for more doctors and medical professionals.  “We are making do, barely, with the space we have,” said William Crist, UA’s vice president for health affairs. “Without this medical center continuing to grow, we don’t have the capacity to train medical professionals in Arizona.”

University of Arizona and Phoenix city officials are pressing state lawmakers and Gov. Jan Brewer to provide the money they say is critical to the future health of the downtown medical school.  They worry that prospective medical school students may search elsewhere if the Phoenix school cannot grow and offer the types of services that students expect. “They are bright people (students), they are going to look around,” said Stuart Flynn, dean of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University. “Once students begin figuring this out, that is when we will not be able to get the highest-caliber students.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Last-minute state economic package may target downtown Phoenix

[Source: Mike Sunnucks, Phoenix Business Journal, June 13, 2008] — State lawmakers and business advocates are putting together a tax and economic package that offers tax credits to solar energy companies, expands tax breaks to companies that do research and development work in Arizona, and allows for Tucson-area officials to tax restaurants and tourists to fund spring training baseball stadiums.  The package (which is still being formulated) could also offer some incentives or tax assistance to the Arizona Diamondbacks and allocate funds, possibly Arizona Lottery revenue, to repair and upgrade research buildings at ASU and other state universities.

The package does not include a $250 million property tax repeal advocated by a number of real estate advocates and chambers of commerce.  State lawmakers, business group leaders, and lobbyists are slated to meet on a possible tax package Monday, June 16 at the State Capitol.  It could be part of final budget deals being hammered out at the Legislature as the state wrestles with an expected $2 billion deficit.  That budget needs to be complete by the end of June…

Downtown Phoenix possibilities:

  • Sources familiar with the package being put together said the plan could also include some help for the Arizona Diamondbacks but were unclear of the specifics.  That assistance could entail tax changes that help the Diamondbacks or facilitating downtown Phoenix development around Chase Field…
  • How the package might relate to a program backed by ASU President Michael Crow, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, and Gov. Janet Napolitano is still being determined.  The trio support a $1.4 billion bond package that would repair and upgrade existing state university research buildings and further develop a University of Arizona medical school and biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix.  One possible avenue is to use state lottery revenue to fund repairs and upgrades, especially at ASU.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]