Regents Approve $26M in Renovations to Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Building

Increased research capability, faculty recruitment and increased revenues.
"...doubling the College of Pharmacy's current research capacity in order to attract top-caliber faculty, scholars, fellows and scientists..."

The Arizona Board of Regents approved $26 million in renovations and additions to the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy's Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center during their meeting at Arizona State University.

The focus of the additions will be to create new chemistry labs for drug discovery and research, according to Rick Schnellmann, dean of the UA College of Pharmacy, adding that research lab space is in demand and critical for faculty hires and student learning. The expanded chemistry lab space will accommodate more research in the areas of drug discovery and development, pharmaceutics, pharmacogenomics and pharmacology - doubling the College of Pharmacy's current research capacity in order to attract top-caliber faculty, scholars, fellows and scientists within those areas.

"Space is needed because I can't hire more people who do drug discovery unless ... I have chemistry space," said Rick Schnellmann, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "You can't get to part B if you don't have part A."

This project, located at the northeast corner of Mabel Street and Warren Avenue, would include a new two-story addition and renovation of existing building space to provide approximately 32,000 gross square feet of modern research labs and associated support space, including 20,000 gross square feet in new space and 12,000 gross square feet in renovated space, along with 2,000 gross square feet dedicated to the College of Pharmacy's History of Pharmacy Museum.

"As a student, having more chemistry labs with the purpose of furthering drug discovery is an exciting development," said Timothy Celaya, a third-year pharmacy student.

"Having a strong emphasis and infrastructure for drug research and discovery could open up possible career paths into pharmacy industry, which is something I have been considering looking into ... It would be really cool to see the College of Pharmacy produce a novel drug that improves a patient's health."

The 35-year-old building will be updated and expanded to facilitate increased research capability, faculty recruitment and increased revenues, while establishing the capacity to adapt to the dynamic and changing fields in pharmaceutical sciences. The additional space will also provide greater opportunities for students who enroll in the College of Pharmacy's four-year Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences- the college's newest undergraduate degree in more than twenty-five years.

The UA plans to use $10 million in UA Health Sciences Funds, $6 million in philanthropy and another $10 million provided by The ALSAM Foundation, a Utah-based trust founded by L.S. and Aline W. Skaggs - the same donors for whom the building is named.

"What we really did with this new design, we only looked at things that were mission critical, that we absolutely needed to have," Schnellmann said. "And so that kept it nice and lean and focused."

Construction would begin this spring, with completion slated for the summer of 2020.

This story was published with contributions from UA Communications and the Daily Wildcat. 

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Alli Benjamin, APR
Director of Communications