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UA’s downtown Phoenix med school plans lab facility

[Source: Ryan Randazzo, Arizona Republic] — The University of Arizona’s Phoenix medical school will build a $15 million underground laboratory with a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the school has announced.  The college, which is a partnership with Arizona State University, will use the new building as a support facility for the existing research labs in downtown Phoenix.  The college won the grant through the NIH’s federal stimulus program.  Both UA and ASU researchers will benefit from the new facility.

The building is planned for a lot in downtown Phoenix at the existing college bounded by Fifth, Seventh, Fillmore and Van Buren streets, UA spokesman Al Bravo said.  It will be built mostly underground to take advantage of sustainable-building principles.  Officials could not say when work will begin on the project.  The construction and planning is expected to create 250 jobs.  When complete, the building will house about 33 new employees, mostly research assistants, Bravo said.

The 22,000-square-foot building represents just a fraction of the school’s expansion plans, which include a 268,000-square-foot education building for classrooms.   “This grant will allow us to build a shared-resource facility supporting all the great lifesaving research going on at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus,” said William Crist, vice president for health affairs at UA.  “The NIH has acknowledged that our research in cardiovascular, cancer and neurological areas is critical to the development of the biomedical campus.”

The college admitted its third class of students in the fall.  The expansion plans eventually should allow the school to enroll 120 students per class, up from 48 now.  It also will allow for UA pharmacy students to study all four years in Phoenix and incorporate nursing students as well as programs offered by Northern Arizona University.  [Note: Read the full article at UA’s downtown Phoenix med school plans lab facility.]

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]