Opportunity to transform USF Health, downtown Tampa
The USF Board of Trustees unanimously voted Dec. 4 to co-locate two major new planned facilities – the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and the USF Health Heart Institute — to downtown Tampa. The vote is a key step in a long-term process that would strengthen the university’s presence in downtown’s business district and allow USF Health to expand essential educational and research programs at its main campus location.
The project’s move and funding will be considered by the Florida Board of Governors at the board’s next meeting in January. The proposed downtown project, which also requires the support of Florida’s legislature and governor, would be built with a combination of state and private funding.
If approved, the 331,000-square-foot facility would house the MCOM and Heart Institute under one roof, just north of the Amalie arena in downtown Tampa. It would be constructed, alongside a separate parking garage and private medical office building, on land offered by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik as part of his vision to create an economically-thriving urban environment where people could live, work and play.
“In recent weeks, the university has been presented with an unprecedented opportunity to set a transformative course for both USF Health and Tampa’s downtown and in doing so create an innovative and economically powerful urban core that will serve the entire Tampa Bay region,” said USF President Judy Genshaft in a letter to the USF community. Read more…
Charles Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the MCOM, paraphrasing Franklin D. Roosevelt, said that for the medical school, USF Health, the university and downtown Tampa “this is our rendezvous with destiny.”
In his presentation before the BOT, Dr. Lockwood cited the advantages of locating the proposed new facility in a such a vibrant downtown district, including:
- Improves medical student teaching in a space geared for modern learning, plus the capacity to increase enrollment of nursing doctoral and CRNA students and of Doctor of Physical Therapy students, as well as start programs in occupational therapy and prosthetics and orthotics.
- Positions USF Health as a national player competing with top quartile health professions schools.
- Bolsters USF’s recruitment of world-class faculty, students and cardiovascular researchers.
- The proximity to Tampa General Hospital, the medical school’s major teaching affiliate, and the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, would allow more students and faculty access to high-fidelity simulation training.
- Frees up existing MCOM space on main campus to allow for the expansion of other academic programs, including nursing, which needs more students in the pipeline to fill a healthcare workforce shortage. The new space on main campus would also allow for the strengthening of neurosciences, rehabilitation and infectious diseases research, as well as joint programs with Moffitt Cancer Center and Bioengineering – all of which could enhance commercial investment and employment in and around campus.
- Locating the Heart Institute close to TGH would enhance the national stature of the hospital’s high-quality cardiology program — among the country’s busiest in cardiac transplants, cardiac surgery and invasive cardiology.
In addition to the academic benefits, all of these things can help drive economic development for the City of Tampa and entire region, Dr. Lockwood said. “We have the opportunity to be an anchor for one of the greatest redevelopment projects in the history of the country.”
“We are very proud of the enduring partnership we have with USF,” said Vinik, who addressed the trustees following their vote. “We are aligned in terms of values, vision and what we want to accomplish.”
Vinik said he plans to announce his “vision plan” for the downtown development on Dec. 17.