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Medical school space, finances focus of town hall meeting | News Center

Medical school space, finances focus of town hall meeting | News Center

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In 20 years, the School of Medicine will need 30 percent more space than it has today.

That was the upshot of a Dec. 5 presentation by Niraj Dangoria, associate dean for facilities planning and management, on the opportunities and challenges of managing the school’s growth needs.

Dangoria spoke at the town hall meeting at Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge that also included a brief update on the school’s financial results for fiscal year 2018.

“At no point do we get so much space that we can say, ‘Oh, our work is done,’” he said. “Space will always be a limited resource.”

Managing space at the school involves balancing faculty growth, workspace needs, the school’s financial health and regulatory constraints, Dangoria said.

Complicated planning

Although the School of Medicine has added about 400,000 square feet of space in the last decade, including the Li Ka Shing Center and the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building, its annual faculty growth is exceeding the current available space. Immediate solutions have involved “densifying” space, which Dangoria described as “trying to achieve the same functionality and outcomes in 15 to 20 percent less space.” The long-term solution will require the school to double its off-campus space to accommodate its growing research enterprise, faculty and staff. 

Because the campus straddles both the Santa Clara County and Palo Alto City jurisdictions, planning construction is complicated. A 2011 development agreement, which allowed the construction of both the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford extension and the new Stanford Hospital, also requires the demolition of the seismically unstable Lane, Alway, Edwards, Grant and Boswell buildings, whose current occupants will need to be gradually relocated to allow rebuilding over the next 10 years.

“Four thousand people are being relocated in the next three to four years,” Dangoria said. “That’s 40 percent of our overall population.”

Stanford’s new Redwood City campus will have 600,000 square feet and four buildings, one of which will be the administrative center of the School of Medicine. “This campus is almost ready,” Dangoria said. “The first folks will be moving in in the spring of 2019.”

Meanwhile, the school’s research center will shift to buildings both new and old in the Stanford Research Park. Ultimately, 2,500 to 3,000 people will be based there — about 30 percent of the school’s overall population. 

The education center will remain on the main campus. One of the new buildings there will be the Biomedical Innovation Building, which is set to open in about 15 months. It will accommodate about 900 researchers, including 100 faculty, and feature a flexible, modular infrastructure. “We know research evolves continuously, and we want to build environments that allow this,” Dangoria said.

Along Quarry Road, the Center for Academic Medicine, opening in the fall of 2020, will embrace its verdant setting at the Stanford Arboretum to foster an environment that supports physician wellness, Dangoria said. Housing 450 clinicians and another 500 or so clinical researchers, the building will feature amenities such as a gym, cafeteria and concierge services. “We’re going to work very hard to create a unique environment and very supportive environment for our clinical faculty,” Dangoria said.

With faculty, staff and administration dispersed across three locations, the idea will be to change the way we think about the footprint of Stanford Medicine. “Even today, when we think of the School of Medicine, we have to think of it as being on campus, at the research park and in Redwood City,” Dangoria said. “It’s a reality, not an option.”

Financial health ‘remains strong’

In his summary of the last fiscal year, Samuel Zelch, MBA, chief financial officer and associate dean for fiscal affairs, told the audience, “The financial health of the school remains strong, as reflected in the FY18 net surplus of $109 million.” Zelch pointed out that these results were similar to the prior year. However, federal funding increased by 2 percent and nonfederal funding grew by 12 percent over the previous fiscal year, with sponsored research growing to $689 million. 

Zelch added that the outlook for FY19 is also strong, despite a projected 8 percent growth in budgets against a 3 percent projected growth in revenue. The higher budgets, Zelch explained, represent many new strategic investments in buildings, programs and people being made to support the school’s preeminence. 

Toward the end of the meeting, Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, thanked the attendees for their service to Stanford Medicine. He then participated in a brief question-and-answer session along with Dangoria, Zelch and Marcia Cohen, MBA, senior associate dean for finance and administration.

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