NU asked the state pick up $60 million of the project, which would expand the existing Health Science Education Complex in Kearney, with the remaining $25 million to come from private donations.
“We’re really struggling with rural health care professionals, and that’s likely to get worse rather than get better,” Carter said.
The new UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex would be aimed at creating an attractive school in a rural part of the state and connecting students with internships and clinicals in rural areas, Carter said, which would go a long way to addressing the current shortages.
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said the Health Sciences Education Complex, a partnership between UNK and UNMC which opened seven years ago that provides high-quality education in the allied health professions, has grown to capacity.
“If you educate students in rural Nebraska, they are more likely to stay here,” Kristensen said. “To change rural Nebraska, health care has to be a starting point. Here’s our chance to recruit students from all over.”
NU also pitched $25 million for a new research building at Nebraska Innovation Campus that would serve as a companion to a U.S. Department of Agriculture research center that is in the earliest stages of development.
Congress has appropriated funding for the USDA research building, which will spread across 100,000 square feet at Innovation Campus, and included partial funding in the budget that is now under consideration.