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'Major Puzzle Piece To The Future Of Our City': New Medical School And Trauma Center To Be Built At Sleep Train Arena Site

NATOMAS (CBS13) — A medical school's battle to build is bringing new jobs to Sacramento.

City leaders just announced plans for Sleep Train Arena after seven years of sitting empty. California Northstate University will build a medical training facility. It's a plan that was rejected by another city just months ago.

The former home for the Sacramento Kings that was converted into a field hospital during the pandemic will be completely demolished, said CNU leaders. They will turn 35 acres into their newest campus, including a trauma center.

"This was a puzzle piece, and a major puzzle piece, to the future of our city," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Sacramento City Councilmember Angelique Ashby said the project will create thousands of high-wage jobs and generate billions in economic output over the next ten years.

"If there's a takeaway today, here's one of them: The Kings made good on their promise, this is exactly what they said they would do," she said.

California Northstate University initially tried to build this campus in Elk Grove, but city leaders there rejected the plan over concerns about traffic, noise and environmental impact. So the university pursued options in Rancho Cordova but eventually landed in Sacramento.

"This is good for Elk Grove, too, and Rancho Cordova and Citrus Heights because Sacramento is the hub. This is the easiest spot to get to because we know that 16,000 people used to come here on any given night," Ashby said.

There's been an ongoing community campaign to build a zoo at the Sleep Train Arena site. City leaders conducted a feasibility study but the effort never gained enough traction.

Dolores Santos' husband worked at Sleep Train Arena when it first open. She says demolishing it will be a major memory lost.

"We went to all of the Kings games and I thought it was a perfect place halfway between downtown and the airport," Santos said.

University officials say it will take about 3.5 years to build the first phase of the campus and they could get started by the end of this year.

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