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Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University

2016 General Assembly


The 2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly will convene on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Legislative session information including daily House and Senate convene and adjourn times can be found at each body's respective twitter accounts, @vahouse and @vasenate.

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Virginia Commonwealth University

Medical Sciences Building II and Massey Cancer Center Addition

Project Description

The Medical Sciences Building II (MSB2) will be a 125,000 square foot, eight story building which will replace the current Nursing Education Building on Broad Street.  The original Capital Project Request described the building use as a combination of academic, administrative, and research space.

Original Cost

$35 million to be funded $22.55 million in General Obligation Bond proceeds, $3.7 million from State general funds for equipment and furnishings, and $8.75 million from university debt-financed funds.

Revised Project Description

Based on revisions to the Medical School's strategic plan, the building will now be utilized entirely for research and research support.

Revised Cost

Due to the higher cost per square foot of research space as compared to academic and administrative space, the addition of a vivarium, and construction cost inflation since the project was approved by the voters, the project cost will rise to $56.7 million, a $21.7 million increase.

Request to the Commonwealth

Approve an increase of $21.7 million in the funding plan and provide $16.275 million in general funds and authorize VCU to issue $5.425 million in university debt.

View looking West on Broad Street:  


                        This is a massing concept only and not intended to reflect the final design.


VCU's research budget in just five years has grown from $136 million in FY '01 to $206 million in FY 2005.  Our goal is to reach $300 million by FY 2011.  Importantly, the research effort generates indirect cost recoveries [ICR] which are payments research sponsors make to offset our research overhead operating costs.  ICR helps pay for faculty and staff salaries, equipment, renovations and other expenses.  Over the past five years, the university has received approximately $121.4 million in ICR including approximately $30 million in FY '05.

The research enterprise has also created, and now sustains, more than 900 FTE positions at the university.  The payroll generated by these jobs exceeds $45 million.  

There is a direct correlation between an increase in the research budget and job growth, payroll growth and ICR growth.

Research also directly impacts the local and state economy. Research related construction at VCU over the past 6 years exceeds $157 million; VCU has $63 million worth of research projects in the design phase; and we have plans to build an additional $351 million in research projects by 2020.

It goes without saying that none of these economic impacts would exist without a vibrant research program.

We have revised our original plan because we believe our research has a great impact on patient care, education and the economy.  Unfortunately, VCU has virtually no open space for development and, in order to grow this enterprise, we have to look to space we already own for expansion.

What Contribution Will VCU Make?

The VCU School of Medicine plans to bring in an additional $80 million in new National Institutes of Health research and training funding over the next six years.    

  • VCU will add 86 new research faculty
  • VCU will add 266 FTE employees over this time to support the research mission
  • VCU's total investment in salaries, start-up equipment, operating costs, etc. is projected to be $192 million
  • VCU will increase basic health sciences PhD student enrollment by 80 students, a 43% increase.
  • Technology transfer efforts will increase and income will grow.  The VCU Office of Technology Transfer started with assets of $50,000 in 1995.  Net assets have grown to over $1.8 million in the last ten years.
  • As our research efforts intensify, we will be a magnet to attract other businesses to the area and downtown Richmond in particular.  Philip Morris' decision to invest $300 million and locate in downtown Richmond on Virginia Bio Tech Research Park property is one very pointed example of how our research activities help attract big business.

Investing in Research

Research yields quality of life dividends.  One example at VCU is organ transplantation.  VCU can be counted among the institutions that gave birth to the field of human organ transplantation.  Basic research on drugs that suppress the immune system, and thereby allow a transplanted kidney to avoid rejection, was carried out here.  Research that uncovered the mechanisms of how to overcome organ rejection set the stage for successful transplantation surgery, which was also pioneered at our medical center.  And today this research continues with VCU's most recent contribution:  pioneering research on adult-to-adult right lobe liver transplantation.  This novel liver transplantation surgery is now widely used in the United States.

Cancer research at VCU traces similar pathways.  Several years ago, basic research opened the door to a new approach to treating cancers.  VCU researchers discovered a compound which affected cancer cells and augmented the standard anti-cancer drug therapy.  This basic information was immediately translated to benefit patients by applying it to the design and implementation of clinical trials to treat cancer in humans.  Likewise, a compound invented by a VCU researcher was found to have properties that could augment the power of radiation therapy being used to treat brain cancer.  Not only is this drug now in clinical trials, it was the basis of the formation of a successful biotechnology company.  These vignettes illustrate what biomedical researchers commonly call translational research.  Simply stated it is the movement of basic scientific discovery from the lab bench to the bedside.  It is a strength at the VCU Medical Center that can only be enhanced and expanded by the addition of MSB2.

Cash Flow

The cash flow schedule for this investment anticipates a construction start date of Summer 2006.  In 2006-07, there would need to be a $14.3 million draw; in 2007-08 the amount would be approximately $1.9 million.

Operating Expenses

The annual operating expenses will be approximately $1.3 million, which is the same amount estimated under the original design.


A one time general fund investment of $16.275 million will literally yield hundreds of millions in return through job creation, construction spending, technology transfer revenues, and indirect cost recoveries.

Expansion to the Massey Cancer Center Addition

The Massey Cancer Center Addition (MCCA) expansion adds 20,000 square feet for research to the Addition’s 60,000 square feet by adding an extra floor.  The MCCA is in close proximity to MSB 2, which will facilitate planned collaborative faculty research across several scientific and medical disciplines.   The expansion will cost an additional $12.2 million.  VCU is requesting the Commonwealth to support this project with $6 million in general funds.  The remainder will come from university sources.

The Massey Cancer Center is part of an elite group of 60 National Cancer Institute designated centers across the country.  Currently the Center has more than $34 million in annual external peer-reviewed research funding.   A $6 million investment by the Commonwealth will yield high returns by helping Massey attract more external funding and finding better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer.