The sounds of a choir could be heard for blocks as Cooper Medical School of Rowan University marked its official groundbreaking of the first four-year allopathic medical school in South Jersey. Honored guests including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, US Senator Robert Menendez, US Congressman Rob Andrews, NJ State Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Camden City Mayor Dana Redd helped mark the occasion with more than 200 civic, business and community leaders from throughout the state today.
The Cooper Medical School groundbreaking marks the next milestone in the development of South Jersey’s first four-year allopathic medical school. During the ceremony, an adult choir of Cooper employees was joined by students from the Lanning Square Elementary School while a replica of the school was raised into the air symbolizing the next level of medical education. Students and faculty from Rowan University’s music department also performed at the event. Construction is now underway on S. Broadway between Benson and Washington Streets in downtown Camden.
“Today, we embark on a monumental project for the City, for South Jersey, and for the State of New Jersey,” said George E. Norcross, III, Cooper’s Chairman of the Board. “We are creating a new kind of medical school, one in which community becomes the focus. The vision that we have had for more than 30 years of becoming the medical destination for the best medical care and the best source of education comes one step closer today.”
“The opening of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University will address the critical need for physicians locally and nationally, while also raising the level of health care and education throughout the region,” said Dr. Donald Farish, Rowan University President. “We are building on our already strong science education program, and joining an elite group of only 131 institutions nationwide to offer medical degrees.”
“This medical school arose from the partnership of two institutions that have been pillars of the community for generations,” noted Paul Katz, MD, Founding Dean of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. “The opportunity to meld these resources together will allow us to provide unique and diversified medical education with far reaching implications locally and nationally.”
The historic partnership between Cooper University Hospital and Rowan University was officially announced in June 2009.
Two reviews by independent consultants for Cooper and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School concluded that there is a significant need for a four-year medical school in South Jersey, and that Cooper and its medical faculty are well prepared to meet that need. Since 1980, Cooper has provided clinical training to third and fourth year medical students from UMDNJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The new medical school is part of a $600 million expansion of the Health Sciences Campus in Camden. The medical school building will be the single largest construction project in Camden County in 2011. It is expected to create 300 to 400 temporary construc¬tion jobs and up to 100 permanent positions. Scheduled to open in 2012, the building will be home to approximately 50 medical students in its first year with a full capacity of 400 students when fully developed.
In December 2008, Cooper expanded the footprint of the Health Sciences Campus with the opening of the 10-story Roberts Pavilion. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs opened a Community Based Outpatient Clinic at Broadway and Stevens Street. Planning is also in progress for the construction of the Cooper Cancer Institute to be located on the Health Sciences Campus.