Archive for Monday, April 14, 2008

Lawmakers allot $50M to boost pharmacy school

April 14, 2008


This artist's rendering, submitted by Kansas University, shows plans for a new pharmacy school building on Lawrence's West Campus. Lawmakers approved $50 million for the new building and expansion of the pharmacy school building in Wichita.

This artist's rendering, submitted by Kansas University, shows plans for a new pharmacy school building on Lawrence's West Campus. Lawmakers approved $50 million for the new building and expansion of the pharmacy school building in Wichita.

— Although the Legislature has a lot to do when it reconvenes the session later this month, it finished work on a major priority for Kansas University.

That is funding construction of a new pharmacy school building on KU's West Campus in Lawrence and expansion of the pharmacy building in Wichita.

It was a big ticket item - $50 million - in a tight budget, and pharmacy school Dean Kenneth Audus is appreciative.

"I think they (legislators) recognize the impact of pharmacies on the health care system in Kansas," Audus said. "Pharmacists in the small towns are the first point of contact for many people seeking health care. They're vital to a city's and town's existence," he said.

During the major portion of the session, the funding proposal changed several times and its progress went back and forth, but support for the project never wavered.

National studies show that as the population ages, prescriptions will increase, causing a huge demand for more pharmacists, especially in underserved rural areas.

During House debate on the budget, state Rep. Don Hill, R-Emporia, who is a pharmacist, said, "This is critical that we move ahead on this."

KU admits 105 pharmacy students annually. Once the new building opens and expansion is complete, KU will be able to take in a class of about 190 per year, Audus said.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had originally proposed granting authority to issue $50 million in bonds for the project. But lawmakers balked at the proposal and instead funded the project through general tax dollars and projected gaming revenues.

In addition, private funding is on tap to construct a building for pharmacy research that will be in excess of $150 million, officials have said.


gccs14r 8 years ago

How about fixing the existing buildings before building new ones? Isn't the total Regents System deferred maintenance bill over $600 million?

LogicMan 8 years ago

"How about fixing the existing buildings before building new ones?"It is, unfortunately for old buildings, much easier to beg for money for a new building. Maintenance just isn't "sexy" to those with deep pockets.

Sean Livingstone 8 years ago

A leaking roof is more bearable than a lousy school.

KU_cynic 8 years ago

I'm happy when any under-resourced KU program (and there are many) gains greater support. Enhancing the pharmacy program seems like a good idea, although there are other programs with similar claims for a need for new or updated facilities.There's just one aspect of this that bothers me, and that's the claim that KU's program will graduate more pharmacists who will serve Kansas communities that are currently under-served. Just like many of KU's best and brightest, most of the pharmacy grads are likely to head out to growing states and cities that offer salaries, amenities, and lifestyles that are attractive to young professionals (e.g., Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix, etc.). Hard-scrapple Kansas towns that currently have trouble attracting young professionals will continue to do so, no matter how many such people are pumped out by KU. In short, a bigger and better KU pharmacy program will probably do a lot to expand opportunities for Kansas students seeking to gain valuable skills that will enable them to split for better places, but do very little to reverse the long-term secular trend of struggling Kansas small towns that cannot attract health care professionals.

nbnozzy 8 years ago

The Mallott building on KU's campus is so old and the roof leaks badly and the floors are in bad shape and so is the plumbing, the fixtures, furniture, etc.... It needs to be torn down, not fixed up.It would cost Kansans less than $20 each for a new pharmacy building to teach the students. That's not an unreasonable request.

BigDog 8 years ago

Kudos to the Kansas Legislature for having more sense than the Governor on this one.It is about time they start saying NO to funding more projects through bonds. Over the last 5-7 years the Governor and the Kansas Legislature has been guilty of balancing the budget by funding more items with bonds.For those not aware of this practice ..... the state has been balancing its budget by putting many items of the tax payer credit card (bonds). The state has been like the individual who keeps placing items on the credit card when there is nothing left in the checking account. The problem is .... eventually these bonds are coming due and the state will have to begin making payments on them.Again Congrats to the Kansas Legislature for having the sense (at least on this item) to pay for it up front instead of borrowing more money.

KUGreenMachine 8 years ago

On the opposite side of things, it's nice to know that the pharmacy school will be that much less selective in choosing the best pharmacy school candidates. This means that there could be an increase in under qualified pharmacists out there. We won't just get the best of the best. We'll get those that before were'nt as deserving.....Just a thought.

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