$100M Creighton University Phoenix campus marks ‘topping out’

Real Estate | 26 Jun |

Creighton University’s new $100 million, 180,000-square-foot Health Sciences – Phoenix Campus at Park Central reached a major construction milestone earlier this month as work continues on-schedule on the new building. 

The construction team for the building, led by developer Plaza Companies and general contractor Okland Construction, marked the “topping out” of the new building in mid-June when it reached its full height with rooftop construction continuing. 

Expected to be completed by 2021, the campus will serve nearly 900 students, invigorating Arizona’s health infrastructure with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and more — each educated in Creighton’s distinctive Jesuit, Catholic mission of service.

In May, the university announced it is expanding its Phoenix health science programs by adding two rapidly growing fields to its existing medical and nursing programs.   

The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education has approved the addition of Creighton’s Occupational Therapy and Pharmacy programs. Both programs will be offered starting in Fall 2021 at the new Creighton University Health Sciences Campus in Phoenix. 

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council estimates Creighton’s expansion will create more than 250 jobs; $124.5 million in personal income; $12 million in tax revenues and more than $300 million in total economic output.  

“This new facility will be a critical addition to Arizona in ensuring its health care needs are met in the future, a goal more important than ever before.” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “This is a great milestone for the building and we are pleased that construction is continuing safely and in a timely manner despite the current health crisis.”

For more than a decade, Creighton University has been an academic mainstay in Phoenix, sending medical students to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center for clinical rotations.

In 2009, Creighton teamed up with St. Joseph’s to establish a School of Medicine in Phoenix. More recently, Creighton and St. Joseph’s partnered with Dignity Health Medical Group, District Medical Group and Valleywise Health (formerly known as Maricopa Integrated Health System) to form the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance. The Alliance aims to increase the number of physicians and other health care professionals in Arizona by improving and expanding current health education programs. 

“We are very pleased with the progress and to be working with Creighton University to make this facility a reality,” said Sharon Harper, BA’69, chair of the Presidential Phoenix Health Sciences Advisory Board, and chair and CEO of Plaza Companies, the building’s developer. “This campus will be an important addition to the medical core of midtown Phoenix and an ideal environment for learning.”

Creighton’s infusion of medical professionals comes at a crucial time for Arizona, which faces both a boom in population and a shortfall in medical professionals. By 2030, the state is expected to have just one primary care doctor for every 1,500 people. 

Creighton will help face this shortage not just by bringing more health care professionals to the state but keeping them there. Over the past decade, more than 70% of the medical students Creighton has placed in Arizona have remained in-state — with hundreds more on the way over the next decade.

The state is also in need of nurses, with a projected shortage of 50,000 by 2030. Nurse by nurse, Creighton is pushing back against this trend with rapid growth. Last year, enrollment for Creighton nursing students exceeded 1,000 for the first time in the college’s history.

In December 2018, Creighton graduated it first class of accelerated nursing students in Phoenix. The fourth class enrolled in August 2019.

Creighton’s Health Sciences – Phoenix Campus will anchor the redevelopment of Park Central Mall, once the city’s first large-scale shopping mall. Plaza Companies and Tucson’s Holualoa Companies have teamed up to change the space from a retail center to an almost 500,000-square-foot community hub suited to work, play and, of course, education.

Construction on the building at 3100 N. Central Ave. started in the summer of 2019. Okland Construction is the general contractor for the first phase of the building. Butler Design Group is the architect, and RDG Planning & Design is the conceptual and tenant design and improvement architect.

Creighton University, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. It enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduates and more than 4,000 graduate and professional students among nine schools and colleges. No other university its size offers students such a comprehensive academic environment with personal attention from faculty-mentors. Creighton has been top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report for more than 20 years.

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