The construction of the new UNLV Medical School building has commenced months ahead of the previously arranged commencement date. The project is starting without funding from the state as earlier planned. This is after the state cutting funding to the project in a raft of cost-cutting measures adopted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seeking additional funding streams
In a brief comment before the launch of the project, Nevada Health and Bioscience Corporation CEO Maureen Schafer said the developers are still in talks with the governor and his office as well as the legislature for additional funding. “The way we look at this is, we as a development corporation made a commitment to the community, so we’re breaking ground, we’re going to move forward because the care can’t stop,” Schafer said.
Gov. Steve Sisolak reduced the project’s budget by $25 million following the massive closure of business in the wake of the pandemic. With many businesses closed, the state’s earnings went down. In response, the legislature was called in for a special session to approve cost-cutting measures amounting to $1 billion.
In addition to funding from the state, developers are also seeking alternative third-party funding sources including federal grants. According to Schafer, it is irresponsible and unreliable to continue relying on philanthropic money to build buildings in Southern Nevada. He added that even without the funding, they will proceed with the project as they had made a pledge to the community to meet their needs.
The project will proceed despite a reduction in state funding
Originally, the construction of the new UNLV Medical School building was projected to cost between $175 million and $200million.However recent design reconfiguration reduced the cost down to $150 million.
Sitting on nine acres at 625 Shadow Lane, the 135,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in early 2021. In an interview in July, former state senator Warren Hardy, who is also a big advocate of the project, said that developers had been assured by the state that plans are underway to raise funds pledged for the project.