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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.]

Regents OK $187M expansion for downtown Phoenix medical school

[Source: Angela Gonzales, Phoenix Business Journal] — The Arizona Board of Regents has endorsed a $187 million expansion for the University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University.  At its recent meeting in Tucson, the board approved plans to build a 268,000-square-foot health sciences education building and other improvements on the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus.  This will allow the medical school to train more physicians and strengthen the presence of the UA College of Pharmacy and other health-related colleges on the campus.

While it has been endorsed by the regents, UA must wait for a review by the Joint Committee on Capital Review before ground can be broken.  The expansion plan has been approved twice by the Arizona Legislature and signed by the governor, but still must be reviewed by the committee.  The committee is scheduled to reconvene after the first of the year.  [Note: To read the full article, visit Regents OK $187M expansion for downtown Phoenix medical school.]

Downtown Phoenix medical school growth in limbo

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — University officials are putting the final touches on plans to build a $164 million building that will expand downtown Phoenix’s medical school and high-profile biomedical campus.  But the project is stuck in political limbo and it’s unclear if construction crews will break ground in February, as planned.  “It will be difficult until we get moving through the Legislature,” said Jaime Molera, a University of Arizona lobbyist.

On Thursday, the Arizona Board of Regents unanimously approved plans for the Health Sciences Education Building, a 265,000-square-foot facility that will house lecture halls, an anatomy lab, a simulation center, and a library that will be used by the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.  The building will be located on the 28-acre Phoenix Biomedical Campus that’s taking shape downtown.  The hub includes the medical school, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), and ABC1 — a medical-research building used by ASU and UA.  Down the road, supporters would like to build a hospital and more research buildings.

The campus is part of Arizona’s longtime quest to grow the state’s bioscience industry.  Phoenix owns the land and the campus is part of city plans to redevelop downtown.  The Health Sciences Education Building is also a key part of plans to expand the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University, which opened in 2007.

Without the new building, the downtown medical school can’t grow much bigger, said Judy Bernas, an associate vice president at the University of Arizona.  Right now, it has 120 students and could have a maximum of 192.  But the original plan calls for a school that would eventually have 480 students.  The school won’t have enough room for that many students until the Health Sciences Building is complete, UA officials say.

Funding for the project has been approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer through the state budget process. The building would be paid for by bonds that would be paid off with lottery revenue.  But a handful of powerful Republican lawmakers are using a bureaucratic procedure to put the brakes on the project.  [Note: Read the full article at Downtown Phoenix medical school growth in limbo.]

Downtown Phoenix possible site for new ASU 3-year college

[Source: Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic] — Arizona State University wants to develop a network of lower-priced colleges where students could earn bachelor’s degrees in just three years.  The Undergraduate Colleges @ ASU would offer only a handful of majors to let students fast-track their degrees through a combination of traditional and online courses, ASU President Michael Crow said.  The plan, which could cut the cost of a degree by about 40 percent, or $11,150, goes before the Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday for discussion, although the board won’t vote until later this year.

ASU, like the two other state universities, is under increasing pressure from Arizona lawmakers to create more affordable options for higher education.  In-state tuition and fees at the state universities rose by up to 54 percent from 2004 to 2008, and rates are increasing sharply again this fall for new students at all three schools.  At ASU’s Tempe campus, for example, new students will pay $6,840 this fall, up from $5,659 last fall.

The Undergraduate Colleges @ ASU is one route the regents likely will consider.  Other possibilities include allowing students to transfer more credits from community colleges and offering more online courses.  At Thursday’s regents meeting in Tempe, ASU’s Crow, along with University of Arizona President Robert Shelton and Northern Arizona University President John Haeger, will present proposals for lower-cost degrees.  “What we’re trying to offer are multiple options, multiple pathways,” Crow said.  “Families can pick the one that’s best for them.”

ASU officials want to open the first undergraduate college in fall 2010 in Maricopa County.  Crow is looking at the West Valley, Phoenix and other locations, he said, but doesn’t have a site yet.  He confirmed that ASU is considering downtown Phoenix.

Eventually, ASU may have five to 15 undergraduate, commuter-style colleges spread throughout the state.  Each college could serve 1,000 to 3,000 students.  Faculty would focus on teaching, instead of a combination of teaching and research as they do on the main campuses.  ASU hopes to partner with cities to pick up the tab for construction costs, similar to what ASU did when developing the downtown Phoenix campus using a voter-approved sales tax.

Majors haven’t been determined but likely would include only a handful of high-demand fields such as communication, elementary education, interdisciplinary studies, psychology, political science, and criminology.  [Note: Read the full article at Downtown Phoenix possible site for new ASU 3-year college]

Despite rocky start, downtown Phoenix medical school presses on

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — Arizona leaders see the new University of Arizona medical-school campus in downtown Phoenix as an anchor of a biomedical hub that will train more doctors, foster cutting-edge research and spur the state’s economy.  But as 48 students usher in the Phoenix college’s second year of instruction, much has changed from the original vision.  The medical school’s leadership is being overhauled.  Plans for a new downtown teaching hospital have stalled.  And the school’s Tucson faculty members have raised questions about whether the Phoenix campus will take away limited resources.

University officials acknowledge a rocky start in some respects for the nearly 2-year-old Phoenix campus.  “Any new concept will have some growing pains,” said Robert Bulla, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents and a regents committee overseeing development of the biomedical campus.  “I am not disappointed that it has been slow, but it has taken a little longer than I hoped to get things in place,” Bulla added.

Still, no one doubts the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix in partnership with Arizona State University has made significant strides since its official October 2006 dedication.  The school has assembled its curriculum, hired faculty and welcomed the first two classes of medical students.  It also has secured funds to pursue an ambitious expansion that will add a new educational and a state-of-the-art research lab that will be shared by the state’s three public universities.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

ASU’s planned $6M cuts may impact downtown Phoenix campus

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Arizona State University’s cost-cutting plan could have a big impact on the downtown Phoenix campusArizona Republic reporter Anne Ryman wrote today: “Arizona State University plans to eliminate 81 administrative positions.  The cuts come as part of statewide reductions designed to close a $2 billion budget deficit for fiscal year 2009.  No classes, faculty jobs, or academic degrees are being lost, ASU officials say.” 

The plan must be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.  The budget reductions announced on Monday total about $6 million.  ASU must cut its budget by nearly $23 million for the 2009 fiscal year.  The three-year-old downtown Phoenix campus wouldn’t lose staff, but could gain two programs from the West campus.

[Note: To read Jahna Berry’s full blog entry, click here.  To read Anne Ryman’s full article, click here.]

UA solicits plans for downtown Phoenix hospital

[Source: Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] — The University of Arizona has contacted nearly every major hospital in the Phoenix area with one major request: Send us your ideas for a new downtown teaching hospital.  The call for ideas comes after talks between UA and Banner Health failed to a yield a deal to build a new teaching hospital that would anchor Phoenix’s emerging biomedical campus.  Arizona leaders envision a downtown hospital that trains doctors, advances medical technology, and provides a setting for cutting-edge medical techniques that spin out of such nearby research institutions as TGen.

UA has solicited proposals from Maricopa Integrated Health System, Catholic Healthcare West, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Banner Health, Sun Health, Mayo Clinic, and other hospital groups.  The university also plans to ask out-of-state hospitals to submit ideas, but no paperwork has been forwarded to non-Arizona hospitals.  UA will begin reviewing proposals March 1.  The process amounts to a brainstorming session.  UA and the Arizona Board of Regents want new, fresh ideas in an era when academic hospitals are difficult to build because of limited federal and state funds for such a project. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

ASU’s downtown campus poised to have new leader

Debra Friedman, ASU[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Arizona State University is tapping a new leader for a powerful post within its high-profile downtown Phoenix campus.  Debra Friedman, 52, the dean of the College of Public Programs, is likely to become the new public face for the downtown campus.  The Arizona Board of Regents could vote on the change as early as March, Friedman said.  If regents approve the change, Friedman will become the vice president of the campus and an influential figure in downtown Phoenix development.  ASU’s downtown campus, bankrolled by $220 million from taxpayers, is a critical anchor for the revitalization of Phoenix’s core.  [Note: Read the full article here.]