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Regents OK sale of bonds to finance UNLV medical school building

UNLV will move forward with a plan to finance a long-awaited School of Medicine building through the sale of bonds after the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents unanimously approved the proposal Friday.

The plan would rely on $125 million in bonds issued by NSHE to be repaid at $7.35 million per year over a 30-year term.

The vote Friday authorized acting UNLV President Marta Meana to move forward on the plan and return with a funding resolution at a later date.

Meana told the board that moving forward with a new building is essential, as welcoming the third class of medical students this summer had pushed the constraints of the school’s temporary space at the Shadow Lane Biotech Research Center.

The new 140,000-square-foot building, scaled back from the university’s original proposal, will primarily consist of learning spaces, including classrooms and a cadaver lab, leaving administrative offices in a leased space on Charleston Boulevard.

Diana Bennett, vice chairwoman of the UNLV Foundation, said she believed that raising the necessary money for the debt service would be possible, especially once naming rights are on the table. If debt service payments exceed the amount raised, unrestricted internal funds will be used to make up the difference, she said.

The proposal is one feasible way to make the medical school building a reality, Meana said. However, other options could arise before the bonds are sold and issued.

Any other possible alternatives are not far enough along to publicly discuss, she said.

Meana acknowledged the original goal was to finance the School of Medicine building entirely through private gifts, but noted that came before her time.

“Moving this medical school forward is so important to our community and our state,” Meana said.

Contact Aleksandra Appleton at 702 383-0218 or aappleton@reviewjournal.com or follow her on Twitter @aleksappleton.

UNLV through the decades — PHOTOS

The university has grown from a small extension of UNR to a full-fledged university with over 30,000 students.