Capital costs for UPEI medical school more than double in new estimate

UPEI interim president Greg Keefe says a bigger building would be a benefit to other programs in the health-care field. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)
UPEI interim president Greg Keefe says a bigger building would be a benefit to other programs in the health-care field. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)

The provincial government has substantially increased its commitment to UPEI's new faculty of medicine, with a proposal for a much larger building than originally planned.

When the plans were announced in 2021, the province committed to a 75,000-square-foot building. Over the course of a 20-year loan, the cost of that building and related infrastructure was estimated to be $50.7 million, including interest on the loan.

But Greg Keefe, UPEI's interim president and vice-chancellor, said it has become clear they'll need more money for a bigger building, which could also help other programs such as nursing, paramedicine and veterinary medicine.

"It's a very integrated program with nursing, with the nurse practitioners, with the psychology program, with paramedicine, and so all that helped grow the footprint. Modern education in medicine involves a lot of simulation technology which is used … not just for med students but also in all those other programs," said Keefe.

The new plan is for a 135,000-square-foot building. Fitted out with the required technology, along with the interest on a 20-year loan, the province is committing $122.7 million. That's a 140 per cent increase.

According to the province's consolidated financial statements for this fiscal year, $72 million was provided to the university to build the new faculty of medicine, in addition to the $50 million already planned for this year, bringing the total one-year contribution to $122.7 million.

In addition, the university has committed to fundraise $10 million.

This is on top of $66 million the province has earmarked for operations over the first six years

The target to welcome the first class of med school students is the fall of 2024.