Charles Drew University's new nursing school faces financial troubles

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Class is in session at the new nursing school at Charles Drew University in South Los Angeles. But students are not allowed inside the state-of-the-art research facility.

The only sound of footsteps inside the $43 million building is our own. Charles Drew University’s interim president Dr. Keith Norris turns on the light inside an empty classroom.

“And the students would sit here with state-of-the art learning environment."

Including flat-screen monitors, so students can observe remote medical diagnoses and procedures. It’s called "telemedicine" and Norris says it’s the wave of the future.

“They have a variety of simulated mannequins in the back that they have access to for training," says Norris.

The nurses’ station, laboratory and research areas are also dark and empty. The problem is that Charles Drew is behind on a $10 million bank payment.

“The down payment would be that $10 million from the state.”

Norris is talking about cash from the state public works board in Sacramento. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised it before construction on this building started about two-and-a-half years ago, but it’s been slow moving through the political pipeline.

Norris says the university’s financial partners want a check – or enough assurance that one’s in the mail – before they allow nursing students to use the new facility.

Representatives of the two financial institutions that expect payment from the university – Sovereign Bank and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney – declined or were not available to comment on this story.

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