The $26 million addition to and renovation of the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy’s Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents business and finance committee Feb. 9.
“The Skaggs Building is nearly 35 years old and was in tremendous need of expansion and renovation,” said Alli Benjamin, communications director at the College of Pharmacy.
Benjamin said that because the college has grown and science has changed over the years, the addition and renovation project is key to further growth.
“By continuing with the construction of the Skaggs Building, the pharmacy school will be able to recruit more students and increase research in the area of drug discovery and development,” said Benjamin.
While the school will be upgrading its infrastructure, new equipment will also be implemented in the school’s curriculum.
The school currently has only six chemistry hoods, which are needed to conduct drug discovery. After the renovations, there will be a total of 64 new chemistry hoods, according to Benjamin.
The Pharmacy Museum will also see some changes. Currently, the museum’s artifacts are placed on various floors of the pharmacy building, but they will be consolidated.
The cost of the College of Pharmacy upgrade was originally estimated at $31.5 million, but that was reduced to $26 million, due to changes in furniture fixtures and equipment, according to an executive summary from the Arizona Board of Regents meeting.
Lorenzo Martinez, ABOR associate vice president for finance and administration, said the expansion and renovation was not downsized; rather, the new equipment is being funded in a different way than originally planned.
“With these types of projects, the Arizona Board of Regents evaluates the estimated cost of the projects to ensure they are reasonable,” said Martinez.
Of the $26 million cost, $6 million will come from gifts, $10 million from UA Health Sciences funds and $10 million from the ALSAM Foundation, according to previous Daily Wildcat reporting.
The ALSAM Foundation is a Utah-based nonprofit founded by the Skaggs family that primarily grants funds for issues involving education and medical research.
The project will have no impact on the University’s debt ratio.
The renovation of the pharmacy building will include 12,000 square feet, and the addition of two extra floors on top of the existing school will add 21,000 square feet. Due to the age of the school, money had to be invested to fix the original infrastructure.
“The per-square-foot-costs are significantly higher than we typically see,” Martinez said. “So what they are going to have to do is reinforce the existing building so they can add the additional floors on top, which is why it is higher than average costs.”
Preparations are being made for construction to start early June 2018 with a completion date of summer 2020, according to a College of Pharmacy press release.
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