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UND Med School Eyes $124-million Expansion - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

UND Med School Eyes $124-million Expansion

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    The lineup of requests for part of North Dakota's nearly 2-billion dollars budget surplus is getting longer.

  This winter, UND's Medical School will be asking the legislature for 124-million dollars to build a new school.

  In order to fill the shortage of doctors and other health care professionals across North Dakota, the legislature authorized UND's Med School to increase it's enrollment.

  Enrollment is projected to jump from 641 students today, to 803 students within 4 years and Med School Dean, Joshua Wynne says they're already cramped for space.

  The School's recommended fix is to build a new, 124-million dollar medical school, across the street from the old one.

Robert Kelley, President U.N.D.: "When you stop to look at the expanded needs for medical education, for biomedical research within the State, all of this is going to require attention to the facilities that we educate our medical students in, and as we expand the class size, we need to expand our faculty."

  Republican, House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo says yes, they'll take a close look at the proposal. But, Carlson says there's already a long list of spendy proposals at the head of the line…  infrastructure for western North Dakota and statewide  property tax relief.

(R) Al Carlson, Fargo: "When you look at that pile of money, a lot of it has already been pre-promised. Obviously, infrastructure  and property tax relief are the ones taking the biggest bite out of that surplus."

  So, while North Dakota remains in the best financial condition in the Country, there will now be a battle by many different entities, to grab a piece of the surplus.

   Its estimated North Dakota will face a shortage of as many as 500 doctors in the coming years.

  Med School Dean Joshua Wynne says there are a couple of other less costly options for remodeling and expanding the current medical school. However, he says the most cost effective solution over the long term is to build a new school.

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