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Regents fund medical expansion in Phoenix


By Zach Colick and Nick Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 30, 2005
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FLAGSTAFF - Funding for UA medical facilities took a big step forward at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting yesterday.

Regents unanimously approved additional funding for the University Medical Center Corporation and the Arizona Biomedical Research Collaborative building.

The UMC Corp. received the go-ahead to issue hospital medical bonds for no more than $200 million, which would cover financing expansion projects, establishing a debt service reserve fund and paying off bonds from 1993, according to the regents executive summary on the issue.

Expansion projects include a four-story bed tower to the medical center, which would help accommodate almost 200 new beds, 40 of which would be reserved for intensive care and another 48 of which would be for medical surgery beds, said Regent Fred Boice.

In addition to $54,750,000 in bonds issued in 1993, $52 million in hospital revenue bonds were issued to the medical center in 2004. The UMC Corp. was also given approval to acquire membership interest in University Medical Imaging, according to the regents executive summary.

With more than $1 million to work with, the medical center will be able to create a "one-stop" area for imaging needs, ranging from MRIs to

X-rays. This increase is expected to relieve the 14 percent increase in the number of outpatients for MRI and CT scanning at the medical center, according to the presentation.

Plans for the UA College of Medicine Phoenix

expansion were also laid out at the regents' meeting.

Nine different committees have been working for the past 18 months on the medical school expansion and so far no dollar amount has been attached to the project, said Regent Gary Stuart.

"I can tell you it will cost $7 million to recruit the faculty for July 2007," Stuart said.

On July 1, 2007, 24 students will begin attending classes at the Phoenix campus. The following year, another 24 students will be admitted, Stuart said.

The Arizona Biomedical Research

Collaborative building also received approval to sell Certificates of Participation not to exceed $33 million for the construction of a downtown Phoenix campus infrastructure.

A Certificate of Participation is a method of financing in which an investor purchases a share of lease revenues, according to the regents Web site.

The project, a collaboration between the UA and Arizona State University, was originally budgeted at $27.2 million but grew to $29.6 million because of discussions on construction costs during the regents meeting.

The UA is expected to finance $17.2 million toward the construction of the building, which is expected to house cancer and diabetic research, while Arizona State University is expected to contribute $12.4 million, according to the regents executive summary.

Student Regent Ben Graff said the expansion would also give students a choice of where to attend medical schools and that each school would provide special areas of study.

"This creates both a partnership with ASU and a more collegiate atmosphere in Arizona, and gives students more opportunities," said Graff, a third-year law student, in yesterday's Arizona Daily Wildcat. "This would be a huge benefit to the state."



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