Upstate News

September 19, 2007
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate announces $510 million initiative to enhance, expand mission

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Citing a regional responsibility for the well-being of Central New York, SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D., announced today a $510 million capital project plan that will expand and enhance the university’s core missions of research, education, patient care to address key issues in healthcare today, such as shortages in the health professions and access to care.

Known as the SUNY Upstate Initiative, the five to seven-year capital project plan represents the most comprehensive blueprint for growth since the university’s association with the State University system more than 50 years ago.

“As the only academic medical center in this region—and in partnership with New York state—we bear a responsibility to the 1.8 million New Yorkers from Canada to the Pennsylvania to develop a bold and passionate strategy for growth that advances the power, practice and promise of medicine,” Smith said.

Not only would the SUNY Upstate Initiative strengthen the university’s mission, it would further fuel one of the prime economic engines in the region. Already the largest employer in the region, the SUNY Upstate Initiative would dramatically increase the university’s economic impact on the region, now estimated at $1.67 billion.

“The SUNY Upstate Initiative would provide an excellent return on investment to our region by infusing new jobs into the area, new construction and new opportunities for local businesses and others to partner with us on this agenda for growth,” Smith noted.

A majority of the initiative will be self-funded, Smith noted, through bonding and other funding strategies.

Highlights of the SUNY Upstate Initiatives include:

? Research Expansion—$58.7 million. Plan calls for expansion of the Institute for Human Performance and further improvements to existing space to accommodate new office and laboratory space.

Research funding at SUNY Upstate has doubled in the last decade and new faculty are being aggressively recruited to continue the university’s record research growth. Research expansion also will enable the university to enhance recruitment of biomedical students. “Research represents the promise of medicine,” Smith said. “This upgrade in our research infrastructure will further our success in this area and allow us to continue to attract top-level scientists to our area.”

? Student Life, Educational Enhancements, Expansion—$74.3 million. Plan cites 50 new student housing units, new academic building, campus life center, upgrades to Silverman Hall (home of the College of Health Professions), and land and building purchases. These projects are aimed at the need to grow student enrollment by more than 30 percent, a figure that has been cited by the Association of American Medical Centers as necessary for curbing the shortage of healthcare professionals. In addition, SUNY Upstate continues to expand degree offerings and educational programs through the region to help meet the area’s healthcare needs.

“Support for our student and educational initiatives is of vital importance to the region’s ability to educate and attract students to the area who we know will remain here and be members of the healthcare community to care for us and our children as we age,” Smith said.

? Patient Care Initiatives—$346.2 million. Plan calls for construction of ambulatory care and teaching facility to bring eight outpatient sites under one roof in convenient location to hospital; a heart center within the hospital to consolidate all heart-related activities; a cancer center, which will create a state-of-the-art setting for a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment; single patient rooms in University Hospital to reflect the upgrades in patient accommodations being built in the Vertical Expansion; renovation of critical hospital operations (radiology, operating suite for minimally invasive surgery, emergency room and clinical pathology); a connector bridge to Crouse Hospital; and development of electronic medical record infrastructure.

“Our institutional mission is rooted in our ability to improve the well-being of the communities we serve and these new projects will help us do that in more coordinated and convenient way for all patients,” Smith noted. “These projects also will help provide greater access to our singular services for patients from near and far who seek our expertise.”

? Binghamton Clinical Campus Upgrades—$21.5 million. Plan includes renovation of the historic “Castle on the Hill,” a former state asylum, to serve as home of SUNY Upstate’s Binghamton campus and a clinical skills assessment center.

“Our Binghamton campus plays a significant role in introducing our students to other parts of our region as they make a commitment to completing their medical education in the Southern Tier,” Smith said. “These projects will provide us with a more appropriate setting for serving our students and developing additional community-based programs, like our free health clinic, to ensure access to care.”

? Child Care Center—$5 million. Plan would increase day care opportunities for employees and students and provide extended hours and sick childcare.

“As our campus continues to grow, we must continue to meet the needs of our SUNY Upstate family—our employees and students—who desire child care close to work,” Smith said. “These issues and how we respond to them are hallmarks of a caring and compassionate employer.”

The project also includes a five-year maintenance plan to assure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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