TU, OU plan medical college
BY P.J. LASSEK & BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writers
Saturday, December 03, 2011
12/03/11 at 7:23 AM
A movement is under way to create the Tulsa School of Community Medicine, which would be a joint partnership of the University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.
It would house a four-year medical school and other TU academic programs.
The Tulsa Development Authority, which is the city's real estate entity, is set to vote next week to enter contract negotiations for the sale of the vacant Hartford Building, 111 S. Greenwood Ave.
TU is offering $2.25 million for the 74,772-square-foot building and two adjacent parking lots, TDA Executive Director O.C. Walker said Friday. The property appraised for $2.68 million.
The sale is contingent upon an environmental assessment on the properties, Walker said.
The project is designed to address the shortage of doctors in Tulsa and throughout the state, TU President Steadman Upham said.
"We've been working on this for more than three years, and it has come together very nicely," he said. "As you can imagine, starting up a medical center is not a simple matter."
The accreditation process is under way, Upham said, with the goal of being ready to admit new students in 2014.
The downtown site was chosen because the facility needs to be big enough to accommodate the school's various components, he said. The Hartford Building provides a good footprint and would be renovated.
The medical center will serve as a major economic catalyst in the adjacent East Village area, as well as in the Greenwood and Brady districts, Upham said.
"We wanted to locate the program in a place where there would be available housing and where there would be attractions for the students," he said.
"You want the students embedded in a matrix that gives them an opportunity to focus and study but also have a social life."
The partnership is structured so that both universities will absorb some risk, Upham said.
TU will own the building and provide the basic sciences education, while OU will provide the accreditation and clinical elements.
At full-operational strength, the school will have more than 400 students and faculty at the facility, he said.
TU wants to start construction on the building shortly after the site is acquired, Upham said.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said the medical center "will lead to a lot of good things by the simple fact that several hundred people will be part of that school."
"Obviously they would like to have housing in the immediate area. Isn't that terrific?" he said.
Another developer is planning a nearby housing project, which Bartlett said hasn't been announced yet.
With an education project that's a partnership between TU and OU, Bartlett said, this project will spur other downtown development by people who understand "this is the real deal."
OU-Tulsa President Gerard Clancy said the two schools have been in a partnership for the past couple of years to train physicians.
"It's worked out great," he said.
The program graduated its first class in 2010, Clancy said. It was determined to be such a success that "we decided to plan toward a medical center."
Steadman said the partnership showed "not only can we work together, but we produce a pretty good result when we do."
Clancy said the program's second class graduated Friday, ranking 18th in the country out of 133 physician-assistant programs.
Bartlett said he is in full support of the medical center project.
"It's something for all of Tulsa to be excited about," he said.
The purchase of the Hartford Building would be the University of Tulsa's second major downtown project in the past year.
The university is developing a portion of the former Mathews Warehouse in the Brady Arts District to be the Zarrow Center for Art and Education.
It will house programs from TU's School of Art and Gilcrease Museum, which is managed by the university. The Zarrow Center is expected to be open in the fall of 2012.
Plans previously proposed for the Hartford Building site that never came to fruition include one from the Ross Group for an office building and another from Formaation LLC that involved a 40-acre mixed-use development.
Original Print Headline: TU, OU plan medical college
P.J. Lassek 918-581-8382 Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Steadman Upham: "We've been working on this for more than three years and it has come together very nicely."