LAS VEGAS — UNLV President Neal Smatresk says the university is beginning to make ambitious plans to raise more than $500 million over the next several years for new building projects, which could include the first medical school in southern Nevada and a new on-campus football stadium.
The effort is in the exploratory stage, Smatresk said, and the university wants to quietly raise 50 percent of the money from donors before launching a high-profile public campaign a few years down the road.
Bill Boldt, UNLV’s vice president for university advancement who worked on similar capital campaigns at other schools before coming to Las Vegas in 2007, said such a campaign would take seven to 10 years.
A similar campaign completed in 2010 raised $537 million for a number projects, including the William S. Boyd School of Law.
UNLV will spend the next three or four years identifying needs at its colleges and then set fundraising goals based on those needs, Boldt told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Besides helping fund the medical school and stadium, the next campaign will focus on five major areas at all UNLV colleges — student scholarships, faculty support, technology, facilities and educational program enhancements, he said.
The board of regents would have to approve a medical school or health-science initiative before that school could be planned, Boldt said. Talk of adding a medical school has been around for years, and Mark Doubrava, a Las Vegas eye doctor and state university regent, has championed a med school at UNLV.
Though some medical students complete residencies at University Medical Center, the University of Nevada School of Medicine is based in Reno. That makes Las Vegas the largest city with no allopathic medical school, or one that grants a traditional doctor of medicine degree, Doubrava has said.
Advocates of a UNLV medical school argue it’s needed to alleviate chronic doctor shortages, raise the quality of medical care, draw more federal research dollars and enhance medical tourism.
Ted Quirk, a member of UNLV’s development advisory board, thinks it’s too early to discuss fundraising strategies for the campaign because the spending priorities haven’t been established.
“It is premature,” Quirk said. “Will there be one? Yes. Will it happen now? No.”