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UNLV's New Developments and Las Vegas

From 1950s' Nevada Southern to today's University of Nevada, Las Vegas, UNLV has come a long way. It's newest Maryland Campus master plan and new buildings that under construction mean so much to our city and the next generation.

Maryland Campus Master Plan Rendering (Courtesy of UNLV)

Written by contributor RP Vegas. Subscribe to Vegas Business Digest email newsletter and follow us on social media.

Back in the early 1950s, Las Vegas was a small, new city compared to other cities in America and we did not have our university yet. University of Nevada, Reno based in Northern Nevada started an extension program in Las Vegas. Las Vegas did not have a university campus, so those twenty-eight UNR students started to meet at the Las Vegas High School's auditorium. In 1954, due to the post-war population boom in Las Vegas and the despite of separation from UNR in Northern Nevada, the State of Regent established the Southern Regional Division of the University of Nevada, also known as Nevada Southern, in Las Vegas. In 1964, Nevada Southern held its first commencement.

Photo Credit: UNLV Special Collection Library

At the time, Nevada Southern did not have a main campus and students were meeting in different places in town. A few Las Vegas pioneers including Parry Thomas and Jerry Mack knew that in order for our city continues to grow in the right direction, we must have a university campus to provide good educational environment to the next generation.

They teamed up with a few other local developers to acquire lands for the Nevada Southern University, which later became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). They later formed the Nevada Southern University Land Foundation to purchase 300 acres of land next to the airport and sold to the university at cost to double the size of the campus. And this campus is what is known today as the UNLV Maryland Campus.

UNLV is extremely important to our community. This is a giant engine that keeps the Vegas talent pipeline running. These students are the future scientists, researchers, business leaders, policy makers, artists, engineers, medical professionals, performers, teachers, and more. They are our future.

Fast forward to 2022, UNLV now has close to 30,000 students and it is continued to grow.

Maryland Campus Master Plan

Last month, UNLV released its newest Maryland Campus Master Plan. This development plan that outlines some of the under construction and proposed buildings on the Maryland Campus.

Source: UNLV

UNLV has many opportunities to develop new buildings and redevelop some of the older buildings on campus. According to this master plan, its vision is to:

  • Embrace UNLV’s role as a “Top Tier” University
  • Foster an Unparalleled Student Experience
  • Celebrate Diversity
  • Achieve Preeminence in Health Science
  • Advance Research Growth and Partnerships
  • Engage with Las Vegas
  • Promote Stewardship
  • Enhance Connectivity and Institutional Identity

All of these elements are great for the university and the Las Vegas community.

The master plan segmented the campus into 7 districts. Each district has different new buildings and areas that focus on academics and research, wellness, residential, infrastructure, cultural and athletic events, and open space but they all integrate with each other to form a master campus.

Advanced Engineering Building

Last month, the Howard Hughes College of Engineering broke ground its new Advanced Engineering building. According to the engineering college, by 2030, the college is projected to have more than 5,000 enrolled students, be graduating 500 students annually, and be producing $20 million in research grants.

Exterior view from West of the engineering building (Courtesy of UNLV)

Las Vegas Medical District

Before I get into the detail of the building, let me just give a shoutout to its name "Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine". Kerkorian is another pioneer and visionary in the history of transforming the skyline of Las Vegas.

UNLV Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine's first permanent building in the Las Vegas medical district is a 135,000-square-foot, five-story Medical Education Building designed by TSK Architects. The building broke ground in Q4 2020 and is being constructed by M.J. Dean Construction.

Last month, the Las Vegas City Council approved an agreement with UNLV for a new hotel, parking garage and a medical office building near Shadow Lane/Wellness Way opening by November 2024 in the Medical District. These projects will create $60,740,000 in construction spend and $13,705,196 in tax benefits.

New Hotel and Office Building in the Medical District (Photo Courtesy of UNLV)

Future Developments

The buildings below are still under the planning stage. The fundings are these projects can either come from private donations or public-private partnerships.

  • Short term: Lee Business School new building
  • Short- to mid-term: Fine Arts new building
  • Long-term: Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building
  • Long-term: North Las Vegas campus

UNLV has an approximately 2,085 acres of vacant land in North Las Vegas. This site has tremendous opportunities for future long-term developments.

Courtesy from UNLV

As a local Las Vegas resident and a running Rebel, I love supporting the university and our students. These new developments mean so much to our city and the next generation.

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