University of Montana to Break Ground on New Biomedical Research Building Addition

The University of Montana will break ground on a biomedical research addition to its Skaggs Building on Thursday, May 26.

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. in the Skaggs Building lobby. UM President George Dennison and representatives of the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences (formerly the School of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences) are scheduled to speak.

The 59,000-square-foot addition will provide the college with adequate space for its extensive research programs. It will house interdisciplinary labs, conference rooms, an electronic classroom, a kindergarten-through-12th-grade learning center, a tiered classroom and student support areas.

Major funding for the $14 million project came from campus-based revenue bonds, the ALSAM Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Poe Family Trust.

"It is remarkable, I think, that of the top 20 institutions receiving NIH grants and contracts in 2004, UM is the only one located in a state without a medical school," said Dean David Forbes. "Clearly, our scientists are a serious national — even international — force in the investigation of health issues."

Forbes said faculty in the college are studying many major, modern-day medical problems, with particular emphasis on environmental health, cardiovascular and neuroscience issues, and health issues related to bioterrorism.

He said the college is grateful to L.S. "Sam" Skaggs for his continued support. Contributions from Skaggs’ ALSAM Foundation and Albertson’s have totaled $11.7 million — $8.2 million to fund construction of the Skaggs Building in 1998 and a recent $3.5 million gift for the new building addition, which made a challenge grant from NIH possible.

The college’s pharmacy school was renamed the Skaggs School of Pharmacy in honor of its top donor in March 2005. It is the first named school at UM.

Contact: College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, (406) 243-4621.

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