Regents approve medical center
The Board of Regents approved the construction of a health and biomedical sciences center on Thursday.
College of Optometry Dean Earl Smith was pleased with the approval, saying the expansion will provide more prospects for education and research.
‘Today is a great day for our college, for our alumni and for the optometric profession,’ Smith said in a press release. ‘With the new facility, we will offer expanded services to our patients to create enhanced educational experiences for our optometry students and establish important research collaboration with other scientists that will ultimately impact vision and its care for future generations.’
The 167,000 square foot building is expected to cost $70 million. The budget includes $57.646 million for construction, $3.746 million for professional fees and $559,000 for art fees.
Construction is expected to begin August 2010 and is scheduled for completion in May 2012.
The building will be connected to the UH College of Optometry and will house surgical facilities, laboratories and academic rooms.
Board of Regents Chairman Welcome Wilson Sr. said the building is important to the College of Optometry because it will place more focus on research.
‘UH has been a leader in health research for many years,’ Wilson said in a press release. ‘More than 50 percent of our research funding is devoted to health, and 25 percent is allotted toward research that is related to health. This building will make a huge impact on our research efforts in this area.’
Regent Dennis Golden, a College of Optometry alumnus, said the addition would make the college one of the best in the world.
‘It is with distinct pride that I make the motion to approve the construction of this building,’ Golden said in a press release. ‘I truly feel that this will make UH’s College of Optometry No. 1 in the world.’
The College of Optometry is one of 19 colleges of its kind in the United States.