FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Medical Education College
Roseburg, Oregon November 11, 2014
The Board of Directors of The Partnership for Economic Development has initiated the next stage of exploration of the potential to establish a new “higher ed” institution in Roseburg for allied health sciences.
Staff from The Partnership has begun briefing key stakeholders in the community to share the findings of the recently completed feasibility study, which was funded by the City of Roseburg, Douglas County (through the Industrial Development Board), Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Foundation, and The Partnership.
The study was a project of The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County, with the primary goal of establishing a new, stable economic driver to help support the regional economy. The project steering committee includes representatives from the City of Roseburg, The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County, Mercy Medical Center, Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines (MCHS), and Umpqua Community College. Funders of the effort include City of Roseburg, Douglas County, The Partnership, Mercy Medical Center, and Mercy Foundation.
The feasibility study was conducted in part by members of the Steering Committee, and included existing staff of The Partnership for Economic Development, Mercy Medical Center, and Mercy Foundation. MCHS leadership also provided critical input and consultation, particularly around the development of the proposed programs and curriculum, faculty staffing models, and accreditation requirements. Additional expertise was also provided by i.e. Engineering of Roseburg, SJS Associates and Michael Kulig, CPA (a former KPMG partner) to provide cost estimating support; develop the required space program and provide project management; and review and refine financial models.
The study was composed of work in several areas:
- A data-driven process led to the selection of 17 target programs and respective student cohort sizes.
- Faculty and administrative staffing needs were determined based on accreditation standards and comparable institutions.
- A detailed space needs study was concluded based on the information provided by the above work phases.
- An extensive site search was conducted, with over 25 local sites reviewed.
- Model operating and capital budgets were developed.
- A student sponsorship model was developed to support student attraction, with a focus on providing rural health care providers with critically-needed clinical specialists.
A large gap exists between future workforce demand and current graduation rates in numerous medical and allied health fields in the study area (the western U.S.). A college serving approximately 1500 students appears very feasible in terms of market demand.
A new college developed to specifically target high demand occupations could be developed in three to four years, and could reach positive cash flow by year four of operations.
A novel model of securing sponsorships from rural health care providers for students could provide a leg up on the competition and would be a key differentiator.
The total capital required is approximately $180 million. The “bankability”/debt capacity of the new institution is likely to be relatively small in early years, meaning that the capital raise will require fundraising from very large donors and/or use of public loan guarantees.
Three viable sites exist in Roseburg. The preferred site would be downtown.
The envisioned program could provide direct employment for over 200 individuals, most of whom would be compensated at levels well-above the regional average wage. The college as envisioned could attract more than a thousand students to the area, and drive additional enrollment at Umpqua Community College.
The total economic impact, direct and indirect, of the college on central Douglas County could be very significant. Payroll and locally-purchased services of the college would total approximately $35 million/year. A very conservative estimate of total employment boost to the region, including direct, in-direct, and induced spending of the college itself (excluding the students and construction impacts) would be 300 to 350 total jobs.
This economic effect would be largely recession proof and very stable. In addition, the development of the college would almost certainly have very positive effects through secondary development opportunities for additional student services and housing.
NEXT PHASE OF EXPLORATION
The Board of The Partnership approved continued work by staff and project partners. Elements of the next phase of work will include: detailed conversations with a potential academic partners 3
regarding possible governance and accreditation structures; work to secure agreements in principle with possible student sponsors; discussions with potential funders.
If sufficient progress is made in these three work areas described above, the project could enter a detailed planning phase, perhaps in the second or third quarter 2015.
The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County, formerly known as the Umpqua Economic Development Partnership, was established in 2001 to be the lead collaborative economic development organization in the region. The Founding Partners were: the City of Roseburg, Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Douglas County Industrial Development Board, and CCD Business Development Corporation. www.uedpartnership.org
For additional information:
Alex Campbell, Executive Director
The Partnership for Economic Development in Douglas County
(541) 492-2820 ; (541) 974-8066 (cell)