The University of Central Florida's new medical school in the Lake Nona area of east Orlando and the "medical city" sprouting up around it could create more than 30,000 local jobs and have an economic impact valued at $7.6 billion over 10 years, according to a study released Friday.
The report bolsters UCF's argument that the medical school is worth the investment in state money.
"In a time of declining economic activity around the globe, Central Florida has a proven economic engine in the UCF College of Medicine and medical city at Lake Nona," UCF President John Hitt said.
UCF officials have said getting full funding for the medical school in the next round of state budget talks will be a top priority. The Legislature cut $4 million from the school's budget request for the current year.
According to the study, the medical school and its eventual neighbors will create as much as $459.9 million in tax revenues by the 10th year of projections.
Creating jobs already
More than $1 billion is already being invested in construction projects in the medical city, and another $1 billion in projects is planned, according to university officials.
Besides the $68 million state-of-the-art medical school, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, a Nemours children's hospital, a Veterans Affairs hospital and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute are slated to be part of the medical city.
"This development is a powerful demonstration of our city, counties and state partnering with an entrepreneurial public university for the public good," Hitt added.
The study by Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, an economic-consulting firm with offices in Tallahassee, shows a 20 percent increase in economic impact compared with a study in 2006, when the medical school was just emerging.
Classes begin in fall
The medical school is the focal point of growth in the medical city, and its future success "is critical if the economic forecasts are to be realized," Donna Arduin, the report's author and former director of the Florida Office of Policy and Budget under Gov. Jeb Bush, said in a statement.
The medical school's permanent building under construction in Lake Nona is scheduled for completion in 2010.
The school's first class is expected to begin in temporary quarters near the main campus next fall.
UCF has received more than 4,300 applications -- the highest rate of any public medical school in Florida -- for the 40 spots available in the first class, school officials said.
The medical school is the first in the U.S. to offer its first class scholarships covering the cost of a four-year medical education. Each scholarship is valued at $160,000.
The school raised nearly $7 million in donations to make the scholarships available.
Luis Zaragoza can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5718.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun