Bond referendum supports higher education for a healthy Rhode Island
WARWICK, R.I. — October 4, 2006 – Supporters of Question 4 today outlined the need for new and improved facilities at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College and urged voters to support the ballot question on November 7th.
During a press conference held at the Prime Time Senior Living Expo at Warwick Mall, a diverse group of supporters detailed how a yes vote on Question 4 will support higher education, support economic and job growth in Rhode Island, and improve health and social service programs throughout the state— including those for seniors and residents with disabilities.
Approval of Question 4 will allow the State of Rhode Island to issue revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $65 million for the construction of a new teaching and research facility for the College of Pharmacy at the University Rhode Island and $7.8 million for building renovations and site improvements at Rhode Island College.
“We’re facing a shortage of pharmacists here in Rhode Island,” said Donald E. Letendre, Dean of the URI College of Pharmacy. “We need to significantly increase our pharmacist workforce to meet the demands of a growing senior population, the complexities of Medicare Part D, the explosion of new prescription drugs, and the need for advanced pharmaceutical and biomedical research.”
URI’s existing facilities cannot meet the critical demand for new pharmacists and research projects. In recent years, space restrictions have forced the college to turn away a large number of highly qualified students. In 2005 alone, almost 1000 highly qualified applicants applied for 90 places in the Pharm.D. program. With a new facility, URI can increase its enrollment by nearly 40% and attract more new research contracts, lucrative partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and high paying jobs to Rhode Island.
URI is the state’s flagship institution of higher education, research, and outreach, and a critical part of a knowledge-based economic future for Rhode Island. The College of Pharmacy’s nationally recognized Drug Information Services program provides healthcare practitioners with timely, evidence-based drug information to promote the safe, rational use of medications. Last year, the College of Pharmacy presented more than 300 educational programs in senior centers across the state of Rhode Island.
“Improper use of medications is common among senior citizens,” according to William Beaulieu, Coordinator, URI Pharmacy Outreach Program. “A yes vote on Question 4 will help us expand our award- winning Brown Bag program which helps Rhode Island senior citizens to better understand the proper use of their medications.”
The bond referendum will also support a new home for the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at RIC which helps integrate Rhode Islanders with disabilities into schools, work and society.
RIC is the largest preparer of educators in the state. As the state’s single comprehensive institution of higher education, the College fulfills Rhode Island’s promise of affordable access to superior higher education for traditional and non-traditional students alike. The College further fulfills its responsibility through the public service, continuing education offerings, and cultural opportunities it provides for the citizens of Rhode Island.
Question 4 is endorsed by Rhode Island Pharmacists Association, Rhode Island Community Pharmacy Association, Hospital Association of Rhode Island, Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, the American Association of University Professors, URI Chapter, and the Rhode Island College Student Community Government, Inc.
For more information on Question 4, go to http://www.voteyes4highered.org