A strategic plan for the University of Oklahoma Health
Sciences Center approved Wednesday by OU regents calls for
construction of a $25 million research tower on the Oklahoma City
Campus, and for research funding levels to be doubled.
Meeting on OU's Norman campus, the regents were told that the
Health Sciences Center, while it has made great strides since 1976,
is underfunded by 45 percent compared to its peer institutions.
"We intend to put additional strong emphasis on private sector
funding," said Dr. Clayton Rich, Health Sciences Center president.
He acknowledged the increased support in the 1980s from the
Presbyterian Health Foundation and W.K. Warren Foundation, adding
"as our performance continues to improve, we can make a stronger
case to other Oklahoma foundations."
Between 1972 and 1982, six new buildings containing 850,000
square feet of academic space were constructed on the 200-acre
Oklahoma City campus, at a cost of $70 million. During that time,
Presbyterian Hospital, the Oklahoma City Clinic, Oklahoma Department
of Health and other major private and state health organizations
moved to the Health Sciences Center campus, and the teaching
hospitals were expanded and upgraded.
OU's medical school has grown from among the lowest 10 percent
of American medical schools in research output and funding, to a
point where it can become an institution of national importance,
He said a new research tower - proposed for construction with
$20 million in state funds and $5 million from private support - is
"Without more space, we'll clearly top off in our activity in
the next few years," Rich said.
The $25 million would actually fund 60 percent in first-phase
construction and equipment for a new research tower connected to the
existing Biomedical Sciences building. The remaining 40 percent
could be deferred until the first-phase space approaches full use,
according to the report.
Some 117,000 square feet of new research space is needed to
support a three-fold increase in research activity while nearly
doubling the amount of available space.
"Current space will become fully utilized next year," the report
states. "New research construction will be required thereafter, and
should be funded and started now."
The concentration on quality and research in the past 13 years
"has paid off to a remarkable degree," according to an overview of
the plan provided to the regents. "Teaching programs have been
improved, with curricula revised in most colleges, and the clinical
activities of the College of Medicine greatly strengthened. But it
is in research that the impacts are the most significant for the
External research funding the Health Sciences Center has
increased from $4 million to $20 million over the last nine years,
Rich said, and use of research space has doubled in the last four