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Published in Press Releases on January 22, 2010 (PDF)

UMMC to hold groundbreaking for School of Pharmacy

By Matt Westerfield

University of Mississippi Pharmacy students will soon have a home on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center once construction is completed on the School of Pharmacy Instructional and Research Facility. Work on the building will officially begin with a groundbreaking ceremony set for 2 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 25, at its site across from the School of Dentistry.

"We are the newest school on campus," said Dr. Leigh Ann Ross, associate dean for clinical affairs in the School of Pharmacy. "And I believe having a designated place will increase our visibility and heighten awareness of our program."

Currently, pharmacy students split the seven-year Doctor of Pharmacy program between Oxford and Jackson. They spend three years completing pre-pharmacy courses and two years in the professional pharmacy program in Oxford. Then they come to Jackson for a year of study followed by a year of advanced practice experiences at preceptor sites throughout the Mid-South.

Most pharmacy courses have been offered at the Jackson Medical Mall since 1998 when the school transitioned to the Doctor of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D., which expanded clinical requirements and increased the time students spend in Jackson.

The planned two-story, 29,000-square-foot 'L'-shaped structure will consolidate the department's facilities, now scattered over two miles. The school's leadership hopes the new building will increase student interaction with pharmacy faculty and the Medical Center as a whole.

Plans for the new building include 17 classrooms, administrative and faculty offices and laboratory and clinical research space. An attached 160-seat auditorium will be equipped to allow lecturers to share live video with the Oxford campus.

The building will cost approximately $9.5 million. The School of Pharmacy has some federal funding secured, as well as a commitment from the University of Mississippi. A capital campaign, called Promises to Keep, is under way to raise more funds.

A reception will follow the groundbreaking ceremony in the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.