Nevada higher education officials on Tuesday asked legislators for three times more money than the governor has proposed to ramp up construction of a medical school in Las Vegas.
Nevada System of Higher Education officials presented their budget requests to a joint Assembly and Senate committee and asked for about $26 million for a medical school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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In his proposed budget, Gov. Brian Sandoval allocated around $8.3 million over two years for the medical school. UNLV School of Medicine Dean Barbara Atkinson told lawmakers that increasing funding to $26.7 million over two years would help the school attract more donors and help with the accreditation process so it could begin accepting students in 2017.
"We're looking for a base of hard money support," Atkinson said. "Donors are going to feel very unsettled."
System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich also asked lawmakers for "bridge funding" for a number of rural community colleges and research institutions.
Great Basin College President Mark Curtis told lawmakers that changes to the state's funding formula meant the Elko-based school would see a reduction of $2 million from state allocations, after already cutting around $4 million in the past five years. Curtis said a one-time funding increase would help the college transition to a lower budget allocation.
"We're kind of at a pinch point relative to the funding formula," he said. "We believe it will take us an additional year and a half or so without doing any serious damage to the college."
In total, Klaich said the higher education system is requesting around $8.65 million in transitional money for Great Basin College, Western Nevada college, the Desert Research Institute and Boyd School of Law at UNLV.