Topeka Kansas University is seeking $30 million in state funds to build a new medical education building.
The total cost of the facility, which will be built at the KU School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan., is expected to reach $75 million. KU says it will provide $30 million in private funds and revenue bonds, and use $15 million from a medical resident FICA refund.
“This request reflects our efforts to increase the stature of the medical school,” Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a letter to the Kansas Board of Regents.
The board will consider the proposal June 21, along with specific funding requests from all public institutions of higher education. The board will finalize its budget request to Gov. Sam Brownback by October.
KU officials say the current medical education building, which opened in 1976, is too small, outdated and doesn’t meet standards required by the school’s accrediting body. Its classrooms are designed for lectures rather than modern small-group learning.
The School of Medicine has proposed increasing the class size of its current Kansas City campus by 50 students, from 175 to 225.
“This year, 100 qualified Kansas applicants were not admitted to the KU School of Medicine because we did not have space for a larger class,” KU said.
Last year, KU made a similar request, but regents told school officials that Brownback’s office wanted the funding of the project to be nailed down further.
In its budget request, KU also wants a recurring annual appropriation of $2.5 million to support a Kansas Institute for Translational Chemical Biology, which Gray-Little said will build on KU’s drug discovery efforts, and support both the KU Cancer Center and the school’s continuing membership in the Association of American Universities.
KU has been a national leader in pharmaceutical research, but competing universities have made significant investments in this area, according to KU’s submission to the regents. “It is thus imperative that we provide the basic infrastructure to continue this strong research area at the heart of drug discovery,” the memo said.
And KU will request additional state funding to improve the KU Medical Center, including the School of Medicine in Wichita. In this area, KU is working on raising private and philanthropic funds and is conducting a study that will provide information the school said it needs before making a specific funding request for the board to consider.
Other big-ticket funding requests before the regents include:
• $16 million in additional funding for technical colleges.
• $15 million for expansion of the Kansas Technology Center at Pittsburg State University.
• $5 million annual appropriation to expand agricultural research at Kansas State University.
• $5 million annual appropriation to improve the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at KSU.
• $5 million annual appropriation for a research synergy center at KSU.
• $8 million for community colleges.
• $5.25 million funding increase for the College of Health Professions at Wichita State.