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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The University of Southern Nevada has announced it will build a pharmacy school in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan.
The $38 million pharmacy campus is expected to be completed in December 2006, and in five years it is planned to accommodate about 1,000 students and 100 faculty and staff positions, with a payroll greater than $10 million, Harry Rosenberg, founding president of USN, said Thursday.
Renee Coffman, dean of the pharmacy college at USN, said the growth of pharmacy schools nationwide has not kept pace with the need for pharmacists. Coffman said the West has fewer pharmacy schools per capita than the rest of the nation.
At present, the only other pharmacy school in the state is at the University of Utah, which has been seeking state support to expand its program.
University of Utah officials were surprised to learn the governor's office had been involved in recruiting the new school.
"I did not know that," said Kim Wirthlin, the school's vice president for government relations. "If the state came to us tomorrow and said here's $1 million to expand, we'd be jumping for joy."
The Utah Medical Education Council has said Utah needs 92 to 116 new pharmacists a year, twice the number of annual qualified graduates turned out by the University of Utah.
The University of Southern Nevada, formerly the Nevada College of Pharmacy, was founded in 1999 by Rosenberg, former dean of Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.
Southern Nevada has more than 300 students and at least 30 full-time faculty.
In Utah, the school has a 15-year lease for a 117,000-square-foot building under construction just off Interstate 15 in the River Park Corporate Center.
The first class will contain 40 or 50 students. Eventually, the school hopes to graduate 80 Utah students a year and add a bachelor's of nursing program, said Rosenberg.
Reid Barker of the Utah Pharmacists Association said, "I'm behind any move that can get us more pharmacists, but they don't have much of a track record.
"I'm not trying to be critical. I just don't know anything about their business practices or their curriculum, except that they have an accelerated program, cramming it into three years, and charge $30,000 a year," he said.
Most pharmacy schools are four-year programs. The accelerated schedule is to allow graduates "an extra year of income potential," Rosenberg said.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)