The health system of Georgia Health Sciences University lent a foundation of the institution $5 million Friday to begin construction of an Education Commons building that will allow for class size expansion in the medical, dental and nursing schools.
The board that oversees Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics voted unanimously in a telephonic meeting to make the loan to the Georgia Health Sciences Foundation. The money will be in place by July 31 so work can begin on the $76.5 million project.
The state of Georgia is providing $42 million in bond funding, and the university and its foundations are raising $34.5 million to cover the cost of the project. So far, the university has raised $23 million, so the
$5 million will allow the foundation to cover the rest, said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, the president of GHSU and the CEO of the health system.
The money raised for the project so far is “more than has ever been raised in the history of this institution” for a single project, he said.
All of the money for the project has to be in place by July 31 in order for the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission
to allow construction to start, said Robert Knox, the
chairman of the medical center board’s Finance Committee.
“We need to get this done today,” he said.
The new building will allow the Medical College of Georgia to eventually expand to 300 students, advancing its status as one of the largest medical school classes in the country, Azziz said.
The new building will feature a cutting-edge $14.5 million simulation center that will allow more interdisciplinary training among the university’s colleges. Such training has already begun at the current simulation center.
Larger class sizes will require hiring more faculty and staff, which will have a beneficial effect on the community, Azziz said.
The “economic impact is significant,” he said.