Board releases campus details

PHOENIX - The Arizona Board of Regents released detailed information about finances and operations of the Phoenix biomedical campus in documents issued to a House representative Thursday as part of a subpoena request.

House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, asked for the material after a recent hearing among university officials and legislators left several questions regarding the new school's financial future.

In order to speed up budget negotiations in the House and Senate, lawmakers needed to know exactly how much money they should expect to spend on the campus in the future, said House spokesman Barrett Marson.

In the hearing, several legislators said they thought the initial appropriation of $7 million in 2005 was the only money the universities needed.

Weiers was one of those distrustful of the requests for increasing amounts of money, he said then, adding that there ""is a reluctance"" as to why the project has grown so fast.

""Where is the finalization and how much is it going to eventually cost?"" he asked.

But the material submitted by the regents shows that legislators were informed they would have to allocate more money during the next couple of years.

In a cover letter that was submitted to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in September 2005, the regents wrote that some budget details could still change in the future.

""This is not intended to be a final plan for the Phoenix Program,"" the letter states.

The project could cost an estimated $600 million, which is expected to come from several sources, said President Robert Shelton at the hearing.

The biomedical campus will include expansions of the UA Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine, in addition to UA and Arizona State University biomedical research projects on a building complex in downtown Phoenix.

Twenty-four students will start at the Phoenix medical campus this fall, and the goal is to admit 150 first-year students by 2012, according to the material.

To achieve this goal, the regents are asking legislators to allocate an increasing number of dollars each year, reaching $26 million in 2012 and peaking at $45 million in 2025, according to the documents. The total budget for the campus at that time could be as high as $220 million.

Other sources of income include the city of Phoenix, research grants, the regents, tuition, gifts, endowments, the UA and ASU. So far, the UA has contributed nearly $6 million.

This year, the regents requested $25 million for the programming and design of two buildings on the campus, to expand the UA Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy in Phoenix, for Northern Arizona University health professions projects and for a UA telemedicine program, among other projects.

According to a study requested by the UA, the overall economic impact of the biomedical campus could be up to $2.1 billion each year by 2025.

Weiers' office did not comment on the material because it was still being reviewed.


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