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Life Sciences : Development News

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More private rooms, new main entrance coming soon to St. Joseph's Hospital in West Tampa

It was a different era of health care back in the mid-1960s, when St. Joseph’s Hospital moved from its original home in Ybor City to its familiar location on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in West Tampa. Hospital rooms had at least two beds, often more, and communal showers were down the hall. That’s what patients expected. Private rooms were rare and for the wealthy.

In recent years hospitals across the country have been moving toward single-occupancy rooms. That’s the impetus behind a new six-story addition to the hospital that’s slated for completion in December of 2019.

“The reason we’re doing this is to respond to community need and to emphasize how important West Tampa is to us,” says St. Joseph’s President Kimberly Guy. “We really think of St. Joseph’s as an anchor for the West Tampa community. The sleek new tower will include 90 new private rooms for patients.

That will allow the hospital to convert some of its existing patient-care rooms into single-occupancy units.

Patients are more comfortable and content when they have a room to themselves, Guy says, but private rooms also improve patient outcomes. Patients get more rest, and the risk of contagion is lowered. St. Joseph's actually still has some areas where rooms don’t have their own showers. "We try not to use those for patients,'' Guy says.

But the new $126-million addition will be about more than private rooms. It will become the main entrance to the hospital, featuring a two-story lobby with a drive-up entrance, waiting rooms and on-call rooms. A pedestrian bridge will connect the new tower to St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital, on the south side of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.

St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz and St. Joseph’s Hospital-South in Riverview have also announced expansion plans, with new additions slated to open in 2019. The main St. Joseph’s campus has been a centerpiece of West Tampa since its founders, the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, moved the hospital there a half-century ago.

Since then, the area around the hospital has become one of Tampa’s most important medical corridors.

The growth of nearby Hillsborough Community College, the building of Raymond James Stadium and the expansion of Interstate 275 over the past decades, along with the resurgence of West Tampa itself, have helped enhance the hospital’s visibility and importance to the Tampa Bay Area.

“I really think the sisters had some divine inspiration when they chose this location,” Guy says.

Work begins on USF building to anchor Water Street Tampa

Construction has begun on the University of South Florida’s $152.6 million Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute at Water Street in downtown Tampa. The facility, which will anchor the $3 billion Strategic Property Partners' development, will bring students to live, work and study closer to their primary teaching school, Tampa General Hospital.

Though the building isn’t expected to open until late 2019, USF is already experiencing a number of positive benefits.

Since the move from the university’s main campus in North Tampa was announced in 2014, applications to the USF medical school have risen 40 percent, meaning more than 30 applicants are competing for every seat. USF has become the most selective medical school in the state, with MCAT scores in the top 20 percent of medical schools in 2016.

“We’re full in a lot of ways and have to hold off recruiting," says Dr. Edmund Funai, Chief Operating Officer for USF Health and Senior Vice President for Strategic Development for the USF System. "It’s exceeded our wildest expectations,”

The 11-story building is expected to bring more than 2,200 students, faculty and staff to the 53-acre Water Street Tampa. Its close proximity to its primary teaching hospital -- just a short water taxi ride away -- is expected to boost federal funding for research to fight heart disease.

The economic impact to Tampa Bay is considerable: the Heart Institute alone is expected to have an impact of $75 million annually.

USF leaders, friends and supporters gathered September 20 for a Dig This! event, viewing the development site from the upper floors of Amalie Arena. The group included USF System President Judy Genshaft, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, Florida Senator Dana Young, R-Tampa, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Funai says being on the waterfront downtown enables USF to better showcase Tampa Bay area. “It’s a little harder to do from the main campus,” he points out. “It does a lot for people’s attitudes to to see the water and the sun and to be part of something that’s going to be a game changer for the city of Tampa and the Tampa Bay region.”

Funded by $112 million state university dollars, as well as private donations, the building’s modern design facilitates collaboration with more open spaces instead of the traditional classrooms of 20 years ago.

“It’s being designed to be as open as possible, to be adaptive to changes in curriculum,” he says.

The building will feature “next generation library service” through a donation from the insurance provider Florida Blue, he says. “It’s going to be on the cutting edge of information technology,” he asserts, “moving beyond the old book.”

Funai expects the facility, which is near USF’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), to be at the forefront of research through its high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and state-of-art clinical trial unit.

The SPP development is meant to compliment what already is in the vicinity, highlighting the waterfront and incorporating lots of greenery.

“We’re building the safest building that we possible can,” he adds. “It’s built to deal with what Mother Nature may throw at you over 100 years.”

Vinik is a part owner in SPP, which is developing Water Street Tampa over a 10-year period. He and his wife Penny were recognized by USF September 26 when the university named its dual-degree Sports and Entertainment Management program after them. The Viniks helped launch, and provided more than $5 million of support, for the program run by USF’s Muma College of Business.

The program features business fundamentals MBA management, finance, marketing, information systems and accounting classes. Other courses involve the sport and entertainment industry.

Biotech company Amgen to open Tampa center

The biotechnology company Amgen plans to open a Capability Center in Tampa next October, creating 450 new jobs and investing $25 million by the end of 2018. The Thousand Oaks, CA-based Amgen, a global pioneer in the fight against serious illnesses, will operate its 136,000-square foot center out of four floors at Corporate Center One in Westshore.

“Tampa was selected mainly on the availability of skilled talent there,” says spokeswoman Kristen Davis, as well as for its "proximity to our global sites around the world.”

She notes Tampa’s “high quality” and “affordable” standard of living, plus the company’s potential to grow in the area.

The Capability Center is to deliver “business-enabling services,” including analytics, staff and business support, human resources, and financial assistance, she says.

Amgen will be hiring for a variety of positions in the information systems, human resources and finance fields. Interested persons should visit Amgen’s Career Center online for specific information on open positions, she says.

Tampa was chosen as the site of Amgen’s new state-of-the-art Capability Center after an exhaustive search that included visits to the finalist communities.

One of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, Amgen operates in about 100 countries worldwide. It provides medicines for serious diseases where the treatment options are limited, or where it can provide a viable alternative to existing treatment. Committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients, it works to develop, manufacture and deliver innovative human therapeutics.

Amgen focuses on oncology/hematology, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, bone health, nephrology and neuroscience.

Florida is home to some of the country’s most highly regarded research centers, including more than 1,100 biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and more than 46,000 healthcare establishments.

Amgen joins the life science companies Bristol-Myers Squibb  and Johnson & Johnson in the Tampa area.

USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute begins move to downtown Tampa

Tampa’s downtown revitalization continues to flourish as plans for the new USF Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute begin to take shape at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive.
The decision to place a facility in downtown was out of need and convenience.
“The current outdated medical school facilities were designed for a different era of medical teaching when large classroom instruction was the norm instead of today’s emphasis on smaller, active learning classrooms and on team-based, technologically intensive modes of learning,” says Dr. Charles Lockwood, Senior VP of USF Health and Dean of Morsani College of Medicine.  “Moreover, combining the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute into a single facility on the downtown site to be generously donated by Jeff Vinik will provide the university with an important competitive advantage in attracting the best and brightest students, the most talented young faculty and the country’s leading cardiovascular research scientists.”
While specifics of the building have yet to be determined, USF has already received an $18 million gift from Carol and Frank Morsani to assist with construction of the complex. Lockwood says it has been that kind of generous financial support from the community that led to the downtown plan.
“A series of events aligned, including our need for new facilities, Mr. Vinik’s visionary plan to develop the downtown Tampa waterfront, former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford’s championing of the Heart Institute’s funding, and a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation between USF and Tampa General Hospital,” he says. “After careful review of our situation, we seized upon the unparalleled opportunity to make the downtown location a reality. “
Last June, the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott supported plans for the new facility by including $17 million in the annual state budget.
“The move will be critical in placing both the medical school and future heart institute within five minutes of Tampa General Hospital, USF’s primary teaching hospital where our students do most of their clinical rotations and our clinical faculty admit most of their patients,” Lockwood says. “This downtown location is precisely where millennial medical students and young faculty want to be.”

USF, All Children's Hospital Partner For Research Center

A research, education and training facility is now in the planning stages following a land transfer by the University of South Florida to the All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine in St. Petersburg.

USF officials signed over 1.4 acres of land to the hospital as a gift. In return USF received $2.5 million in state funds as part of an overall agreement worked out among state officials, legislators and the governor's office. The land was deeded by the state to USF in April with the understanding that it would then be transferred to the hospital by late June.

The transferred land, at 601 Fourth St., is next to All Children's Outpatient Care Center and the Children's Research Institute.

The facility will focus on research and innovations in pediatric care and childhood diseases. In partnership with All Children's, USF officials anticipate opportunities for the university's medical students for training, pediatric residency and expanded education for health science undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows.

"This collaboration shows the sustained commitment of both organizations to provide the best training for USF Health medical students and all our residents and strengthen the USF Health pediatric residency program affiliation with All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine," says Jonathan Ellen, president and physician in chief as well as pediatrics professor and vice dean at All Children's.

State records regarding the land deal indicate plans for an approximately 300,000-square-foot facility at an estimated cost of $65 million to $85 million, creation of about 400 design and construction jobs, and more than 20 staff and faculty positions.

But hospital officials say there are no details on the facility or a construction date as yet.

"You had a dream, you didn't want to start and it not happen," says Roy Adams, All Children's communications director. "It's like we're happy to be given the property so now we can start planning."

Nearly three years ago the private, not-for-profit All Children's Hospital became the first hospital outside of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area to join the prestigious Johns Hopkins Health System. A U.S. News & World Report Best Children's Hospital ranked All Children's in the top 50 in three specialty areas.

The University of South Florida is a Top 50 research university in total research expenditures among both public and private institutions nationwide, according to the National Science Foundation. 

Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Jonathan Ellen and Roy Adams, All Children's Hospital-St. Petersburg

Virginia Pharmaceutical Company Moves Into Roskamp Institute In Florida

Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded firm working to develop medications for inflammatory conditions and neurological disorders, is relocating its headquarters to Manatee County's Roskamp Institute, a leading national research facility that specializes in Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders.

The Bradenton EDC assisted the Glen Allen, VA based pharmaceutical firm in applying for rapid response permitting to facilitate the move into the 3,000-square-foot space at the Roskamp Institute in Tallevast in south Manatee County. Rock Creek also received a performance-based grant of $48,000 from the Manatee County government to help fund its relocation. To qualify for the incentive, Rock Creek has agreed to create 16 high-impact jobs over the next five years that provide an average wage that is twice the Manatee County annual average.

"The Sarasota-Bradenton area is becoming a new and growing hub for life sciences and bio-technology,'' says Ted Jenkins, Rock Creek's VP for Corporate Strategy and Development.

"If we're successful, we have the potential to grow a lot bigger. I think a 16 employee count is a conservative number,'' Jenkins adds.

Roskamp CEO Dr. Michael Mullan, who is also the CEO and chairman of Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, worked alongside Roskamp President Dr. Fiona Crawford on the neurological science team that discovered the first-known genetic cause of Alzheimer's disease in 1992.

"The affiliation between the two organizations is poised to bring leading-edge therapies to the life sciences market,'' says Sharon Hillstrom, Bradenton EDC President and CEO, in a news release.

In recent years, Rock Creek (formerly Star Scientific, Inc.) discovered the anti-inflammatory components of anatabine, a minor alkaloid found in tobacco, while researching smoking-cessation alternatives for nicotine addicts. Jenkins says the firm is currently focused on creating FDA-approved drugs that will leverage anatabine's anti-inflammatory components to help with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, as well as diseases of the nervous system, behavioral disorders and traumatic brain injuries.

"We are increasingly finding out that numerous diseases out there have an inflammatory component,'' Jenkins says.

"I believe we have a very unique compound. It's seen extraordinary results in vitro, in vivo and in pre-clinical animal models. It shows great promise to address potential treatment for major inflammatory based diseases.''

Writer: Jessi Smith
Source: Ted Jenkins, Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals

Major Donations Fund Arts And Sciences At Berkeley Prep

Berkeley Preparatory School is the benefactor of major donations that will fund the construction of a 75,000-square-foot arts and science building on its Town 'N Country campus.
More than $4 million of the total undisclosed amount is a gift from Bob Gries Jr., president of Gries Investment Funds and the former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm arena football team. Other significant donations are from Dan Doyle, Jr, president of  DEX Imaging, and members of Doyle's family.
"It's about our children. Our children are our future," says Gries, whose daughter is a student at Berkeley Prep. "I believe this is a very strong statement that Berkeley is a wonderful and outstanding institution. This is an opportunity to take an exceptional school to the next level to become one of the finest educational institutions in the country."
School officials say they hope to open the Gries Center for the Arts and Sciences by the start of the 2015-16 school year.  Berkeley Prep is a private school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, and is located at 4811 Kelly Road.
Funding for the center is nearly 75 percent complete, says school spokesman Jeremy Canody. The recent donations will provide the center with an endowment fund as well as help with construction, he says.
The center will offer state-of-the-art technology and opportunities for students to work independently and in groups. There will be college-level laboratory space, performance studios, an art gallery, recital hall, study areas and meeting areas.
"This building will have math, science and arts under the same roof," says Nicole Ackerson, chairwoman of the science department. "I can interact with those departments in a way that I haven't been able to before, and find out where we can collaborate to teach children in new, interdisciplinary ways."
The arts and science center is part of a master plan to address future needs of faculty and its 1,300 students. The plan is supported with a $50 million capital campaign, which already has funded the Straz Family Field House and the Berkeley Cafe, a state-of-the-art dining facility. In addition, the funds have paid for campus infrastructure improvements to the Touchton Family Clock Tower and the surrounding Quad.
Above and Beyond: The Campaign for Berkeley Preparatory School is the largest fund raising effort in the school's history.

Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Jeremy Canody, Berkeley Prep; Bob Gries, Jr., Gries Investment Funds

Construction Begins On Marine Exploration Center, Aquarium In Madeira Beach

The 25-year-old St. Petersburg Pier Aquarium is moving, expanding and rebranding, bringing the new Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium concept to John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach.

Slated to open by November 2013, Secrets of the Sea will be the anchor attraction at John's Pass Village on Gulf Boulevard and 129th Avenue in Madeira Beach, featuring a broader, more technology-focused marine exploration concept.

Construction on the 13,500-square-foot, approximately $4 million facility began on April 23rd.

“The Pier Aquarium has been bursting at the seams for a long time while the public's interest in the ocean environment, cutting-edge technology and marine science continues to grow,” says Pier Aquarium President and CEO Howard Rutherford of the 2,000-square-foot St. Pete facility. “The unknown future of The Pier created an extraordinary opportunity for a bold, new approach to the Aquarium's mission.”

The Pier Aquarium will close on May 31.

Rutherford plans for Secrets of the Sea to become one of an epicenter for marine research and one of Madeira Beach's premier attractions, bringing the public together with state-of-the-art marine research, innovation and technology interactive experiences.

Various marine-related activities, aquariums, galleries and exhibits developed by the St. Petersburg Ocean Team will focus on research concepts in a fun, explanatory fashion; exhibits include Essential Estuaries, Touch Tampa Bay, Fish at Risk, Corals on Acid, Crustacean Station and Moon Jellyfish.

Local design-build team Biltmore Construction and Harvard Jolly Architects are working on the construction of the two-story structure with Lexington Design and Fabrication designing and building innovative Mystery Stations throughout the center, showcasing how several sea habitats and lifeforms are benefiting from some of the ocean's unsolved mysteries.

“We hope to create a new generation of environmental stewards,” Rutherford says.

A public/private partnership between John's Pass Village owner AEGON USA Realty Advisors, Enterprise Florida's State Small Business Credit Initiative and a local lender, the new aquarium space was recently endorsed by Madeira Beach Mayor Travis Palladeno.

Additionally, a collective hotel partnership called the Secrets Premier Hotelier Group has been instrumental in helping Secrets of the Seas achieve its capital campaign target to begin construction, agreeing to provide in excess of $100,000 over the next five years in support of the new marine attraction.

The partnership includes TradeWinds Island Resort and Guy Harvey Outpost, St. Pete Beach Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, Lowes Don CeSar Hotel, Postcard Inn, Dolphin Beach Resort, Bilmar Beach Resort, Grand Plaza Resort Hotel, Alden Suites, Sunset Vistas Beachfront Suites, Beachcomber Beach Resort and Hotel, Plaza Beach Resorts and Barefoot Beach Hotel.

Secrets of the Sea is expected to generate nearly 250,000 visitors annually and pump $8 million into the local economy, reaching more than 40,000 students from six different countries.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Howard Rutherford, Pier Aquarium

Moffitt Grows Outpatient Services, Builds New $74M Clinic

Moffitt Cancer Center officially broke ground on a $74.2 million clinic building at it's McKinley campus in Tampa.

Located less than one mile from Moffitt's main campus, the eight-story, 200,000-square-foot outpatient medical facility, at 10902 N. McKinley Dr., will house clinical space for breast and skin cancer programs; infusion and imaging facilities; research labs; an ambulatory surgery center serving patients with cancers including breast, head and neck, melanoma and sarcoma; and space for blood draws. Administration facilities, offices and dining areas will also be located at the clinic.

Approximately $20 million of the budget will go toward new equipment with the remaining $54.2 million spent on the construction of the building itself and a parking garage.

“This new facility would not have been possible without the foresight and vision of our Florida Legislature, including timeless efforts of Rep. James Grant and Sen. Ronda Storms,” says Moffitt President and CEO Alan List, M.D., of the small increase in Cigarette Tax revenue the center received during the past legislative session.

Additionally, the 30 acres of land being utilized for the first phase of the McKinley expansion was donated by the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

“We are so grateful that the city and county have stood in full support of Moffitt's mission -- to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer -- since we opened,” List says.

With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of Florida of nearly $2 billion. This specific project is expected to create more than 600 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs upon opening.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Alan List, M.D., Moffitt Cancer Center

USF Receives Funds, Makes Plans For Heart Health Institute

The University of South Florida (USF) was recently approved to receive state and county funding to move forward with its USF Heart Health Institute project.

On April 17th, Florida Governor Rick Scott approved $6.9 million in state funding to support the initial design of the institute while, just one day later, the Hillsborough County Commission approved $2 million to help support equipment and space for the institute.

USF Health has also pledged approximately $25 million in resources for genomics-based personalized medicine, including funds for research equipment, facilities and the recruitment of two top physicians: Dr. Leslie Miller, USF chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, and Dr. Stephen Liggett, a nationally prominent researcher who will become director of the Personalized Medicine Institute.

The institute will need an additional $42 million in state funds in order to break ground on the 100,000-square-foot facility where 60 employees are expected to work. USF will partner with Tampa's Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute on this project.

“When you look at where you can really make a difference, you go to where the prevalence of cardiovascular disease is most likely the highest in the United States: You start with the oldest population in the country and add in the high instance or prevalence of hypertension and obesity here in Florida,” Miller says. “The Heart Institute is a mandate to do some really cutting edge research and create new knowledge in this field, developing translational research and new therapies as soon as we can.”

According to Miller, USF President Judy Genshaft and USF Health CEO and College of Medicine Dean Stephen Klasko were so convinced that the Heart Institute was the right initiative to move forward with that it became the number one priority for university funding from the Florida Legislature for the next three years.

“They're committed to changing the health care of this community and you can't do it anymore importantly than to focus on cardiovascular disease,” Miller says. “We feel it's really imperative to do something for the residents of this state, the rest of the country and, ultimately, the world. Our therapies are going to have such broad applications.”

Currently, cardiovascular disease accounts for 40 percent of all hospitalizations and deaths in Florida. According to Miller, one in four people in the United States have cardiovascular disease; that number is expected to jump to one in three by 2020.

“This is the greatest health risk and impediment to long-term survival. This is the disease of this community and this state and we really need to do more than we have,” Miller says. “We don't see this as competitive -- it's about new discovery and new science. We hope all health care groups in the region and in Florida will be supportive of this very important new initiative.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Leslie Miller, USF Department of Cardiovascular Sciences

USF's CAMLS Project Grows In Downtown Tampa

Construction on the University of South Florida's (USF) Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) is on track, significantly increasing USF's presence in downtown Tampa.

The 90,000-square-foot project designed by the Beck Group will be the first USF-owned building in downtown Tampa, joining space the university leases at the Port of Tampa in the Channelside neighborhood.

CAMLS will provide a state-of-the-art training and research facility closer to Tampa General Hospital and MacDill Air Base, allowing USF to work with health care professionals while looking at new systems of delivering health care that will improve patient safety, reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes.

CAMLS will provide USF with an urban campus space as well as an extremely efficient building for all different types of medical education and training,” says Dr. Deborah Sutherland, VP of USF Health Continuing Professional Development and CEO of USF Health Professions Conferencing Corporation (HPCC).

Built on a 1.2-acre site at 211 S. Florida Ave., the five core components of the three-story CAMLS building will consist of its Surgical and Interventional Training Center (SITC), Education Center (EC), Virtual Patient Care Center (VPCC), Tampa Bay Research and Innovation Center (TBRIC) and 30,000 square feet of general education and office space.

“This building really puts everything under one roof. We will have the ability to work with the life-long learning needs of health care professionals, the military and our hospital partners to provide adequate training and education,” says Sutherland. “Students will benefit by being in a state-of-the-art facility as they are taught the latest and most complex medical procedures while learning alongside clinicians.”

With completion slated for Feb. 2, 2012, the CAMLS project is currently on budget. Funds for the $38 million project were provided by Build America Bonds and HPCC, a not-for-profit corporation run by Sutherland; the budget includes everything from construction to medical equipment to furniture.

“The downtown community has been very welcoming of this project,” says Sutherland. “From an economic development perspective, I think it's really going to bring some much-needed revitalization to the downtown area.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Deborah Sutherland, University of South Florida

Eckerd College: High Hopes For New Science Center, St. Pete

In an attempt to educate future scientists, Eckerd College continues work on its new Center for Molecular and Life Sciences (CMLS).

The single-story 55,000-square-foot facility will cost approximately $25 million to complete, featuring 9 labs; two classrooms; three faculty-student research spaces; 14 faculty offices; several student study areas and meeting rooms; a greenhouse; an open lobby and gathering space; two covered courtyards; and research support spaces, among other things.

"Equipped with the latest in educational technology and scientific instrumentation, CMLS will bolster Eckerd's efforts to transform its science curriculum, contributing to the kind of innovation needed for Eckerd students to complete globally in science and technology," says Dr. Laura Wetzel, building shepherd for the center and associate professor of Marine Science and Geosciences. "The new venues offered by the center will welcome thousands annually for the President Events Series, Alumni Weekend, the Annual Science Symposium, summer science and sports camps and more."

Transforming Eckerd's science curriculum, the construction of the new state-of-the-art facility will promote new academic initiatives that explore developments at the Chemistry-Biology Interface. Housing existing Biology, Chemisty and Biochemistry programs, CMLS will be equipped with the latest in science instrumentation, as well as educational technology, in an attempt to further developments in Marine and Environmental sciences.

"Since 1964-65, when Eckerd's original science buildings were constructed, enrollments have increased 500 percent without a parallel growth in facilities," says Wetzel. "Now, nearly one-third of Eckerd's student body majors in the sciences. Eckerd's newly-graduated students trained in the center will add to the science and technology workforce in the Tampa Bay area."

With completion on schedule and expected by August 2012, CMLS will be designed and constructed with a goal in mind: obtaining the Platinum level of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Certification. If achieved, CMLS will become the first non-residential building in the St. Pete area with the certification.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Laura Wetzel, Eckerd College

Moffitt Cancer Clinic Opens Near International Plaza

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center is expanding its services close to Tampa International Airport.

By opening the doors to a new International Plaza facility at 4101 Jim Walter Blvd. on July 1, Moffitt is more than tripling the space of its previous Tampa General Hospital facility -- from 13,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. Moffitt at International Plaza will change the way Tampa Bay residents receive cancer care.

"We want to maintain our presence in the South Tampa area, but also want to be more accessible to Pinellas County, southern Hillsborough County and even southern Pasco County, where residents can get right on the Veterans Expressway and come down to the new center," says Nancy Ziel, director of satellite operations at Moffitt. "I think the convenient location, as well as the fact that they now have exceptional cancer care right in their neighborhood is the biggest benefit to residents."

The $22 million renovation project created more than 200 construction jobs and included all of the new equipment in the facility, both transferring and expanding current services; imaging services including 4D PET/CT images, MRI scans and chest X-rays are now offered. Moffitt at International Plaza will also expand the center's infusion services and exam areas with 24 private chemotherapy bays, 18 exam rooms and four consult rooms.

"At the new facility, we've really streamlined the operational issues related to patient experiences," says Ziel. "Before opening, we looked at things on the main campus that we wanted to do or wished we could do, but space limitations made them a challenge."

According to Ziel, one of those services is the new centralized electronic self-registration process. Patients are now able to walk through the door and simply register one time, regardless of the amount of appointments in a day.

"Most of our patients have multiple appointments, but now, the first time they register, they never have to go back to a live person [as far as registration goes]," says Ziel.

The new clinic facilities center employs about 80 caregivers compared to 35 at the old center; plans call for staff increasing to about 100 employees within the next five years.

"We really needed the room to be able to grow and expand," says Ziel.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Nancy Ziel, Moffitt Cancer Center

Clearwater Aquarium To Expand, Add Jobs

Thanks to a little help from some friends, the home of a marine movie star is getting a much-needed expansion.

The Pinellas County Economic Development Authority helped the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) apply for financing from the Industrial Revenue Board (IRB). The application was approved in December, allowing the aquarium to expand its operations by increasing its physical space, upgrading its equipment and adding personnel.

"We need the space for where we are today," says David Yates, the aquarium's CEO. "We're anticipating a very strong response  with the release of the movie Dolphin Tale that was shot here.  So it's basically about meeting the needs of people, animals and cars."

According to Yates, the improvements will include construction of a chloride mitigation system, additional animal care areas and equipment,
installation of bleachers, a new 1,000-seat arena, classrooms, lobby areas, restrooms and a community room; an 11,300-square-foot addition to the existing building; a new parking garage; and the purchase of an approximately 1.5 acre parcel east of the aquarium. In addition to the physical expansion, the aquarium's staff is expected to grow by 10 positions.

The aquarium was temporarily closed earlier this year for shooting of Dolphin's Tale starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr. and Kris Kristofferson, as well as Clearwater star Winter the dolphin. The movie tells the story of how Winter, a bottlenose dolphin, was rescued from a crab trap, and had to learn to swim with a prosthetic tail. Winter has enjoyed national and international attention since finding a home at CMA. The movie is expected to be released in September. According to a release issued by Pinellas County, the movie shoot provided jobs and hospitality revenue, and is expected to do more of the same when the movie makes its debut.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: David Yates, Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Jackson Labs Talks With USF, Eyes Tampa, Sarasota

There has been some buzz about town about whether Jackson Laboratory will expand its Maine and California biomedical research presence to the Tampa Bay region. Will they? Won't they? Time -- and money -- will tell.

The University of South Florida (USF) established an academic relationship with Jackson during Jackson's expansion discussions with Collier County last year. That deal fell through, so now Jackson is considering either Tampa or Sarasota as sites in which to expand their research, education and clinical care efforts.

Mike Hyde, vice president of advancement at Jackson, says the Tampa Bay region is desirable due to the close association with USF and other factors.

"USF is a primary partner," says Hyde. "We've had a number of discussions with others in Florida and around the world. For the time being, we envision ourselves tightly linked with USF. I'm sure that other relationships will develop over time. We're still evaluating the relevance of a couple of locations. The obvious pluses of the Tampa Bay area are proximity to USF, transportation and it's a pleasant city to be in. There are other entities there that offer up opportunities for collaboration. We see an institute in Florida as complementary to our operations in Maine and California."

Lisa Greene of USF's Health Communications is optimistic.

"We are excited about the many innovative research possibilities for our partnership, and we want to help Jackson locate anywhere in Florida that suits the interests of their program and of the state," says Greene. "We began that partnership when they were exploring the Collier County location, and our partnership continues as they explore locations in both Sarasota and Hillsborough."

Jackson's four criteria for expansion in the Tampa Bay region include synergistic partnerships, speedy development, robust state support and strong backing of the community.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Sources: Mike Hyde, Jackson Laboratory; Lisa Greene, USF St. Petersburg

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