Creighton University is changing both Phoenix’s healthcare and city landscapes.
The school – a Jesuit, Catholic University in Omaha, Nebraska – announced Sept. 18 that it will build a new, nearly $100 million, health sciences campus at the storied Park Central property in midtown Phoenix; the first development on that lot in decades.
“Arizona’s need for healthcare professionals in the coming years is only going to increase and with their new investment, Creighton University is going to help meet that need,” Governor Doug Ducey said at the announcement. “It’s yet one more way that the state of Arizona is solidifying its reputation as a premier destination for excellence in health care…We’re super excited for the positive impact this project is going to have on our state.”
The campus will total 200,000 square feet and house 800 Creighton health sciences students. The expansion will include a nursing school, occupational and physical therapy schools, pharmacy school, physician assistant school, emergency medical services program and four-year medical school.
“Creighton came to Phoenix to help meet the growing demand for medical professionals in this area,” Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, president of Creighton University said. “We have strong ties to the Arizona medical community, with more than 250 Creighton trained physicians currently in practice here, and we look forward to educating many more exceptionally qualified healthcare professionals to serve your communities as we move forward.”
Creighton has been sending students to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center for rotations for over a decade. In 2009, the hospital established a campus for third- and fourth-year Creighton medical students.
Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams said the campus expansion was a dramatic step towards strengthening the state’s growing bioscience industry.
“Creighton’s investment in our community will create new jobs and bring new life to a critical property in the heart of midtown Phoenix—but what’s more, it moves us closer to transforming our economy into one rooted in competitive, forward-thinking industries,” Williams said. “I want Phoenix to be a destination for world-class medical education, research, healthcare and solutions, and our growing partnership with Creighton University is going to help us get there.”
Rev. Hendrickson believes after graduating his students will take jobs in healthcare fields across the state.
“Going forward our students will continue to serve the region in many different ways and we are preparing for an exciting new era,” Rev. Hendrickson said. “These students will engage the whole complement of healthcare education and professions and many are likely to stay right here in Arizona to serve your communities.”
One of the initial students to spend their last two years studying at St. Joseph’s was Nick Mathees, MD, Chief Resident in Radiology, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.
“With every interaction I had at Creighton in Omaha and in Phoenix, I found doctors, teachers and peers who cared about service to the community and to patients more than I anticipated,” Dr. Mathees said. “From the very first moment we interacted with Saint Joseph’s, Dignity Health, and Creighton Phoenix Regional Campus staff … we could see the Creighton values reflected in Phoenix.”
Dr. Mathees said his two-year Phoenix adventure has turned into an indefinite adventure.
The campus will be revitalizing a Park Central parking lot on Central Avenue. The construction will start in spring of 2019 and is expected to be completed in 2021.