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October 26, 2021

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Regents approve funding plan for UNLV med school building

NSHE Board of Regents Approve UNLV Medical Education Building Project

Wade Vandervort

UNLV Acting President Marta Meana speaks about the Medical Education Building Project with the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

NSHE Board of Regents Approve UNLV Medical Education Building Project

UNLV President Marta Meana hugs CEO Diana Bennett after the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents vote to approve the UNLV Medical Education Building Project during a special meeting, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Launch slideshow »

The Nevada Board of Regents on Thursday approved the next step in the development of a building for UNLV School of Medicine, voting in a favor a plan to allow a nonprofit funded mostly by donors to construct the building at 625 Shadow Lane in the city’s medical district.

The plan was approved 11-1 with Regent Rick Trachok casting the lone no vote because “sometimes the price of a gift is too high; for me, in this case, it is too high.” Regent Trevor Hayes recused himself from the vote.

The building will be facilitated through the creation of Nevada Health and Bio Science Asset Corp., a nonprofit development agency that plans to build a structure costing $175 million to $200 million, which will then be leased it to the university for $1 per year.

Acting UNLV President Marta Meana called the proposal a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity.

“It has the potential to be a transformative development for our medical school, our university, our county and city and our state,” Meana said. “Our current facilities can only accommodate entering classes of 60 students, and the learning spaces are very modest and do not lend themselves to developments in future medical education delivery.”

Under the proposal, construction on the building must begin by February 2021. The projected end date for the project is February 2025. In 2030, the deed to the building will revert to UNLV.

The plan also needs approval by the Clark County Commission, as the land the building is planned for was deeded from the county to the Nevada System of Higher Education, and not the nonprofit.

The county’s approval is a formality, said Warren Hardy, a lobbyist who has worked on the project.

The medical school, established in 2014, welcomed its first class in 2017. The school currently operates primarily on UNLV’s Shadow Ridge campus.

This is the fourth attempt to get construction off the ground. The first three, plans developed by the Nevada System of Higher Education chancellor’s office and UNLV administrators, stalled amid tensions between the UNLV donor community and NSHE.

After the resignation of then-UNLV president Len Jessup in 2018 amid pressure from regents and Chancellor Thom Reilly, the donor community withdrew millions of dollars of donations and pledges.

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