The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted to have the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission move forward on a construction manager for the $62 million Medical Education Commons Building.
Of the 17 firms that had applied, the commission is choosing from among four finalists: Skanska, J.E. Dunn, DPR and KBR, formerly BEK, which constructed the university’s College of Dental Medicine Building.
The university had not received confirmation of the choice late Tuesday afternoon, said Phil Howard, the vice president for facilities service at GHSU.
The new facility, which will go next to the new dental school building, will serve both the dental school and Medical College of Georgia, the medical school.
The building was envisioned in Georgia’s plans to expand medical school enrollment at GHSU to a class of 240 in Augusta by 2017, according to the 2008 Tripp Umbach study adopted by the regents.
The school is currently limited to 230 per class by space – 190 in Augusta and 40 at a satellite campus at the University of Georgia in Athens. It is still the sixth-largest medical school class in the country but is not projected to meet the growing shortage of physicians in the state. Georgia ranks 41st in physicians per 100,000 people and 45th in primary care physicians per 100,000.
About $28 million in bond funding to pay for construction was included in the fiscal year 2013 budget submitted by Gov. Nathan Deal, Howard said. Another $5 million to complete the project is to be included in the fiscal year 2014 budget. There was already $9 million appropriated for the classroom building when it was a much larger project. The school will still have to raise $20 million.
The university’s Gross Anatomy space will also be renovated as part of the project, Howard said.
The 110,000-square-foot building would provide two 300-seat classrooms, three 120-seat classrooms, four 70-seat classrooms and 30 small-group spaces. The building has been redesigned to accommodate “more team-based learning” that allows more “interactive” learning. The new building will be “as flexible as possible and as expandable as possible,” he said.
The next step would be design, which should be completed by summer, and the project will be put out for bid after that, Howard said.