After two years and $135 million, the University of Arizona has a gleaming new training center for future doctors in downtown Phoenix.
Six stories tall with a copper skin, the Health Sciences Education Building opened a few weeks ago and already has seen a spike in the number of UA students studying there to become physicians.
This year's incoming class has 80 medical students, compared with about 50 in years past. The larger class size was made possible by the extra space the new facility affords.
In Tucson, UA's medical school typically has about 110 students in each incoming class.
The new building, which has energy-saving features and won an award for its design, is 265,000 square feet. It includes classrooms, lecture halls, anatomy labs and offices.
UA is the only state university authorized to grant doctor of medicine degrees. It has done so in Tucson for more than 40 years and branched out to Phoenix in 2007.
Before that, Phoenix was the largest city in America without an M.D.-training school.
Arizona's other two public universities -Arizona State University based in Phoenix and Flagstaff-based Northern Arizona University - offer other types of medical training.
The new building also will house other health-related programs from UA and from NAU, which plans to offer training for physician assistants and physical therapists in Phoenix.
UA's Phoenix medical school recently received its own preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Before that it operated under the accreditation of the UA College of Medicine in Tucson.
Judy Bernas, a spokeswoman for the UA in Phoenix, said officials expect the two medical schools to complement each other.
"We see it as a positive for everybody," she said "It raises awareness of the medical enterprise of the university."
Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4138.