UB lands $35M in state aid for medical school

December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 8:51 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by Allissa Kline, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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December 14, 2011 Updated Dec 14, 2011 at 8:51 AM EDT

An application for $35 million in state funding for the University at Buffalo was formally approved on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a visit to Western New York.

The funds will be used to jumpstart the first phase of a five-year, $375 million plan to relocate the university's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences from UB's South campus to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Center. UB officials expect to hire a total of 700 new faculty between now and 2016 to bolster research and academic disciplines.

UB President Satish Tripathi praised the receipt of the $35 million challenge grant, part of the NYSUNY 2020 legislation approved by state lawmakers in June. The bill allows four-year state colleges to increase in-state tuition by no more than $300 per year per student. Out-of-state tuition is set to rise as much as 10 percent per year.

Tripathi thanked Cuomo for making UB 2020, the university's long-term growth plan, a top priority this year. UB 2020 aims to transform the institution into a major research university.

"UB waited a long time for Albany to act and, thanks to Gov. Cuomo, UB 2020 will become a reality," Tripathi said. "The signing today gives us a chance to get to the next level."

The $35 million challenge grant was originally announced in early June and, later that month, approved by state legislators as part of the NYSUNY 2020 bill. UB officials will begin soliciting proposals next month from those interested in designing the new medical school. A specific location has not yet been determined, but a final decision is expected in the spring.

Previously, UB said it was considering building a new medical school at the site of an existing parking lot on Main Street between High and Goodrich streets. That location remains a possibility, but the university must still negotiate the purchase of the land, Tripathi said. Ideally, the new facility will be located as close as possible to Metro Rail, he said.

UB expects final building designs to be completed in April 2013, with construction beginning in September 2013 and finalized in the fall of 2016.

The $35 million in state money is only part of the funding UB plans to access to build the new medical school. It anticipates:

• $215 million via state bonding

• $50 million in gifts to the medical school

• $50 million in UB capital appropriations

• $25 million in School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences reserves

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