The new University of South Florida (USF) Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, a world-class facility that will transform medical education delivery and generate millions of dollars in annual economic impact, officially opened Jan. 8 in downtown Tampa.
The 395,000 sq. ft. facility’s estimated cost is $173 million – about $12 million under budget, said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice-president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.
Students, faculty, staff and supporters celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, ending nearly five years of design and construction on the 13-story building.
“A project of this magnitude only happens because of the vision and support of many partners,” University of South Florida President Steven C. Currall said at the opening. “The academic, research and economic significance of this project will be felt for generations to come. Most important will be the improved health and well-being of our friends and neighbors across the Tampa Bay region, throughout the state of Florida, and beyond.”
The structure is a hub for approximately 1,800 students, faculty and staff to live, work and study along the vibrant downtown waterfront as a key anchor of Strategic Property Partners’ $3 billion Water Street Tampa development.
“We at USF Health are unflagging optimists, and we see this new facility and our growing partnership with Tampa General Hospital as grand opportunities to position ourselves among the very best of academic medical centers,” said Lockwood.
While the Florida Legislature provided about $110 million toward construction over five years, private donations and cooperative agreements were significant.
“We are grateful for the support we have been given by our great state, city and community leaders, donors, patrons, partners, colleagues, and friends.”
The MD program has moved into the building and the first classes are Jan. 13, with additional programs moving over the next year.
USF Health will share the new facility with Tampa General Hospital for collaborative efforts focused on cardiology, urgent care, imaging and executive wellness and the facility brings Morsani College of Medicine students and faculty closer to the college’s primary teaching hospital, TGH.
Plans for a new USF medical school started in 2011, when Carol and Frank Morsani donated $20 million. Plans shifted to downtown Tampa in 2014, when Jeff Vinik, through Strategic Property Partners, made an offer to USF – an acre of land in the heart of his $3 billion redevelopment of the Water Street district. Over the next five years, the Florida Legislature provided approximately $110 million toward the new building’s construction cost. Financial support now focuses on philanthropy.
“This facility is one of the most significant construction projects in the history of Florida’s State University System, and it could not have been completed without the support and tremendous efforts of the Tampa Bay area Legislative Delegation,” said Jordan Zimmerman, chair, USF Board of Trustees.