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“The current outdated medical school facilities were designed for a different era of medical teaching when large classroom instruction was the norm instead of today’s emphasis on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.”