After a 55-year wait, the University of Mississippi School of Medicine will now have an exclusive building for its growing classrooms on The University of Mississippi Medical Center campus in Jackson.
Mississippi House lawmakers approved a bill on Wednesday to grant $31 million in bonds for a new five-story building on The University of Mississippi Medical Center campus in Jackson. The new building will allow the University of Mississippi School of Medicine to teach more students than ever before. Classrooms at the medical school can currently hold up to 135 students, while the new classrooms will be able to hold up to 165 students. Chief Administrative Officer of the Medical Center David Powe said the economic impact will be immense.
“We’ve been looking at health care as an economic driver for the state of Mississippi,” Powe said.
“These are big numbers, and people have just not looked at health care as an industry like manufacturing or other businesses.”
The construction of the building will create 900 jobs over its estimated 18-month construction plan. The medical school currently generates 31,000 jobs, according to Powe. He estimates that 15,773 new jobs will be created as a result of the new building.
The need for new physicians has been an issue in Mississippi for some time. In a census study from 2007, Mississippi ranked No. 48 in the ranking of states with the most doctors per 100,000 people.
“We have a terrible physician shortage in Mississippi, and to be able to do this is tremendous for the university,” said Blake Wilson, president of the Mississippi Economic Council.
The bigger classrooms in the new medical school will produce nearly a thousand new physicians over a 15-year period, Powe said. For every physician that graduates from UMMC and is put in a local community, $2 million of revenue a year is generated for that community, while 20 to 25 more jobs are created.
Junior biochemistry major David Lee is excited about the expansion of the medical school.
“It’s good to know that they’re making an effort to expand,” Lee said. “It should be a great addition to our already great medical school.”
The building is estimated to be completed in 2016.