The Senate gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that authorizes an expansion of the University of Connecticut Health Center and medical school in Farmington while also creating a partnership with other hospitals in the area.

The Senate voted 28 to 7 in favor of the first expansion and renovation of the hospital in 35 years. Click here to read about passage of the bill in the House.

And while a handful of Republican Senators opposed the measure Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell endorsed the project that authorizes $237 million in borrowing, reallocates $25 million in UConn bonding, and relies on $100 million in federal funds included in the national health care reform bill.

“Tonight’s vote represents a critical leap forward – not just for a state-of-the-art John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington but for a health network with incredible reach throughout Connecticut and thousands of new jobs that will be associated with the network and the hospital,” Rell said in an emailed statement.

“We are taking steps to put UConn’s schools of medicine and dentistry into the top tier of academics and research. We are moving to increase classroom and lab space for those students and offset the shortages we expect in those essential professions. And we are setting the stage for enormous improvements in the health care we provide and tremendous growth in the number of people that industry employs.”