The Medical University of South Carolina needs at least $50 million from donors to build a new $350 million women's and children's hospital, and the executive in charge of fundraising said Thursday that amount of money will be very difficult to come by.
"Will we get there? Who knows," said Jim Fisher, vice president of development and alumni affairs, at the MUSC Board of Trustees meeting.
Fisher has tasked his department to raise $29.8 million of the $50 million goal this fiscal year. Typically, MUSC raises an average $7 million annually for the Children's Hospital.
"If we don't get the $50 million, this (hospital) is not going to happen, and we all want this to happen," Fisher said.
MUSC hired a national consulting firm, which determined that the project is ambitious, but feasible. Fisher agreed that raising money to build the hospital will be challenging, but said he is confident it will become a reality.
The existing Children's Hospital, which was built in 1987, is attached to the main hospital on the MUSC Horseshoe on Ashley Avenue. The new hospital will be built on the corner of Courtenay Drive and Calhoun Street next to the Ashley River Tower.
The Board of Trustees is considering changes to the guidelines to name buildings on campus. Under the new rules, the board would consider naming the new hospital after an individual who donates at least $25 million to the project.
Fisher said his team identified a handful of donors who could offer that much money but told the board, "It is not a slam dunk."
In other business, the board will likely approve Dr. David Cole's employment contract during its meeting Friday. Cole was named the new MUSC president earlier this year. The board is also expected to raise dental school tuition by 3 percent.
Medical school tuition will remain flat for the third year in a row because the university was cited by the national Liaison Committee on Medical Education. MUSC medical students graduate with too much debt compared to the national average, the accrediting group determined.
Dr. Etta Pisano, dean of the College of Medicine, told board members that the MUSC College of Dental Medicine tuition is also relatively high, but that the dental school has not been flagged by an accrediting group.
Both in-state medical school and dental school students pay slightly more than $16,000 a semester at MUSC. Out-of-state students pay nearly twice that much.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.