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Hard hat tour provides first look at NSU Tampa Bay campus

Margie Manning

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The Nova Southeastern University Tampa Bay regional campus at 3400 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater

Nova Southeastern University’s new Clearwater campus will have about a $500 million economic impact in the Tampa Bay area.

That’s according to George Hanbury II, NSU’s president and CEO, who led a hard hat tour of the nearly completed Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences Wednesday.

The three-story, 325,000-square-foot academic facility at 34000 Gulf to Bay Blvd. will open in the fall, with 150 medical students and 1,200 total students. When fully developed, about 2,000 students will be on campus, with classes in health care sciences, education, business and psychology, in addition to those at the College of Osteopathic Medicine.


See the gallery below for a look inside the buildings.


Patel, a health care entrepreneur and founder of WellCare Health Plans Inc., had planned to build his own medical school until he met Hanbury about five years ago.

“It was his dream to create a college of osteopathic medicine. I just said, ‘Dr. Patel, we can bring it to you quicker,’” Hanbury said.

The state-of-the art facility includes wet lab space for researchers, simulation rooms where students can practice their skills, a robotics lab equipped with mannequins and virtual reality, and classrooms with a view of Tampa Bay. The cafeteria, and a huge staircase that dominates the entryway, are designed to foster collaboration among students from different disciplines, so that they can learn teamwork before they are on the job.

In 2017, the Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Family Foundation announced a $50 million gift to NSU and pledged to spend $150 million to redevelop the property, the site of the former Clearwater Christian College.

“This is where I had my success, so I felt good about giving back to the area that gave me something and in the process let the whole area benefit,” Kiran Patel said.

Eventually, he wants to use technology to link the Clearwater campus to medical schools in India and in Zambia. He’s working with Hanbury and Dr. Elaine Wallace, dean of the Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, on that plan.

“How cool would it be to train a student for one year in Africa, one year in India and one year in the United States, a seamless curriculum that they use at all three locations, and we truly train global physicians,” Wallace said. “This positions us in Tampa, and this is the springboard to position us in the world as a global force.”

NSU, with its main campus in Fort Lauderdale, has had a smaller local presence — about 85,000 square feet —  in the Sabal Palm area of Hillsborough County.

The university has 5,000 employees and seven regional campuses statewide. Work is underway on a hotel conference center at its Fort Lauderdale campus and HCA is planning to build what could be a 400-bed teaching-research hospital there.

“By the time all of our structures are built we will have about a $6 billion economic impact in Florida,” Hanbury said.

NSU Patel College

Picture 1 of 14

The NSU Tampa Bay regional campus has a 325,000-square-foot, three-story academic facility and an adjacent 6-story parking garage on 27 acres.

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