GHSU medical commons plans expand with $10 million gift

ATLANTA — Expect to see more dump trucks and concrete mixers on the campus of Georgia Health Sciences University after several building projects moved to the next stage of official approval at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Regents.


The board expanded some projects, scratched one and began asking for funding for another.

First, it authorized raising the budget for the medical commons building from $62 million to $76.5 million to add 40,000 square feet of space for the nursing program, which will expand after the merger with Augusta State University. Administrators plan to dip into their reserves for the added $14.5 million but hope the GHSU Foundation will find sufficient donations. It already has pledges for $23 million of the $34.5 million it needs in donations.

Moving ASU’s nursing program to the medical campus eliminated the need for a $22 million nursing building planned for the Wrightsboro Road campus and freed up that money toward construction of a cancer center. The board agreed to ask the General Assembly to appropriate $45 million for the cancer center with expectations of getting about that much more in private donations.

One large donation already in hand led the board to approve naming the medical commons building for former foundation president Dr. J. Harold Harrison, a pioneer in cardiovascular surgery who agreed to donate $10 million to the building if the school would put his name on it. He died in June at age 86.

“Dr. Harrison’s legacy will live on through his commitment to education,” said Susan Barcus, GHSU senior vice president and chief fundraiser. “The impact of this transformational gift is immediate and will be felt for years to come.”

And finally, the board authorized putting the school’s Sickle Cell Center in one place. The clinical research activities are moving from the FF building to the Shepeard Building, and the laboratory also moves there from the AC building. It will require $1.1 million in renovations to the Shepeard Building and $425,000 for medical equipment.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby had told the school to proceed last month when the regents didn’t meet. Tuesday’s vote ratified his action.



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