News

News

New Facility is Largest Investment in South Central Los Angeles in 25 Years

Los Angeles, CA — April 18, 2008 — Representing the largest single investment in South Los Angeles in the past 25 years, the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will host historic groundbreaking ceremonies on Friday, April 18th for a new, state-of-the-art $43 million Life Sciences Research and Nursing Education Building that will significantly expand the resources of the university while providing health care and economic stimulus to the community, it was announced today by Dr. Susan Kelly, President and CEO of CDU.

“It is truly a historic occasion for Charles Drew University on so many levels,” Dr. Kelly stated. “We consider this building and the many opportunities it represents to be a key part of the rebirth of South Los Angeles. Not only is this new facility the first comprehensive nursing school to be built in California in decades and the first ever in South Los Angeles, it is the first new building on our campus in a quarter century as well.”

“We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health and the State of California through the University of California system for millions of dollars of support for this new teaching space for CDU’s Mervyn S. Dymally School of Nursing, and facilities for our nationally renowned research program. This bold initiative will enable CDU to continue its resurgence — in style,” she added.

“Yet the sum total is so much more than a building. This project symbolizes something far greater — health care education and training for the medically underserved, advancing medical solutions to meet their needs — as part of our mission of reducing or eliminating health care disparities. When added to the stimulus for the local economy through employment opportunities, it is clear that we are creating significant value for so many over the long term,” said Dr. Keith Norris, Executive Vice President for Research and Health Affairs.

The building is funded through a $43 million bond offering issued by the California Educational Facilities Authority. The Variable Rate Demand Revenue Bonds carry strong long-term ratings of “Aa1” and a short-term rating of “VMIG 1” by Moody’s Investor Service, a leading bond rating agency. The California Educational Facilities Authority has established an agreement with the University for the loan of proceeds from sale of the bonds.

The two-story, 63,000-square-foot building will be located adjacent to the University’s main administration building in South Los Angeles, and is expected to be completed by fall 2009. The scientific research facility will encompass state-of-the-art space for laboratory, clinical research and support functions for the College of Medicine and the College of Science and Health, while the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing will help address the appalling shortage of nurses that plagues California, but which is at its worst in South Los Angeles. The nursing school, named in honor of Mervyn M. Dymally, the renowned California Assemblyman and former State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, and U.S. Congressman, will offer an initial program accepting 40 individuals who already have a non-nursing degree in fall 2008 into an entry level Master’s Degree that will fit them for employment as nurses with the option of later becoming nursing faculty. The national shortage of faculty to teach nurses is also dire.

The new research and nursing facility is a key component of a major growth initiative by the University, which is also developing a four-year medical school program, expanding partnerships with other medical schools and increasing its already powerful research capabilities in new and existing areas through additional grants. The University is ranked among the top 50 private research universities and is highly ranked among institutions receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for research. It is a national leader in translational health disparities research.

The Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing will not only address the critical shortages in this area but will bring more skilled professionals into the work force with meaningful employment. California consistently ranks 49th or 50th nationwide in the number of registered nurses per capita, with 30% fewer nurses than the national average. The Federal Health Resources and Services Agency estimates that by 2010, California will need more than 42,000 additional nurses to meet the demand, which it describes as “a target that more than likely will not be met because of the inability of the current nursing education program to prepare sufficient numbers of professionals.” This shortage of nurses is expected to grow to more than 120,000 by the year 2020.

The architectural firm for the new building is HOK, while the general contractor is gkkworks of Irvine, CA and the construction manager is S.L. Leonard and Associates.

Charles Drew University is the only academic health sciences center in an area of 1.6 million people—the largest urban underserved area in the United States. The university is also the nation’s only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School. It was formally created from the ashes of the Watts Rebellion in 1965. Since 1971, Charles Drew University has graduated over 500 medical doctors, 2,500 specialist physicians, 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other, mainly minority, health professionals. Research shows that the vast majority of these professionals are still serving the people in greatest need a decade or more after graduation.