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Miracle On Shadow Lane? UNLV Med School Getting The Money It Needs

Rendering of the UNLV medical school building.

Rendering of the UNLV medical school building.

Ever since the announcement three years ago that UNLV wanted to build a medical school, it’s been a waiting game.

For money.

Tired of waiting for donations, the Board of Regents approved $125 million in bonding over the summer.

Now, that money might not be needed.

Warren Hardy, a lobbyist and former state senator, announced with Governor Steve Sisolak last week that they had secured $155 million in donations.

Hardy explained, when he spoke with KNPR's State of Nevada Monday, that he became involved with the effort to restart the funding process for the school about a year ago.

Many major donors had backed away from the funding effort but everyone involved in the medical school knew the program needed a building to be accredited.

"It is more than just wanting a medical school. We need a medical school," Hardy said, "We're at the limit of what we can do in terms of accreditation without one."

Hardy said the new idea that brought many donors back was the creation of a development corporation that will see the process through from design to construction then turn the finished building over to UNLV.

Hardy said creating the corporation allows donors control of the process, not the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. 

"It wasn't so much that we didn't want them involved but we did want to do it through this development corporation concept so that the donors could build exactly the type of building that the UNLV Medical School wants without any kind of interference from the outside," he said.

Hardy said the board of the development corporation will assemble a team to build a first-class medical school building. 

Beyond just the building, Hardy said the new development corporation is part of an effort to bring more donors to projects around the state.

"They wanted to build a first-class medical school but they also wanted to play a role in developing a culture of philanthropy in the state of Nevada," he said, "Where donors can come, be well treated and be able to participate in things like this." 

Hardy said the major donors for the medical school building were vital to draw in other donors. He called their efforts "pure philanthropy" because they're not doing it for any other reason than for the benefit of Southern Nevada.

As far as the bonds the regents approved for funding the school, Hardy said he hopes the money is used to build a state-of-the-art engineering building at UNLV.


Warren Hardy, lobbyist, former state senator

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.