The single largest construction project in the City of Camden this year took a significant step forward today when the final girder for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University’s (CMSRU) building was raised into place.
In what is traditionally a major milestone in any construction project, the placing of the final beam was the highlight of a “topping off” ceremony. Guests signed the girder prior to the ceremony to show their support and involvement in the overall project.
United States Senator Robert Menendez, New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Camden Mayor Dana Redd, community members, and representatives from Cooper University Hospital and Rowan University participated in the celebratory milestone.
The $139 million, 200,000-square-foot building will serve as the home for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the first four-year allopathic medical school in South Jersey. It is also the first new medical school in New Jersey in more than 30 years. Ground was broken for the building last October.
“It has been amazing to see the building take shape so quickly,” reflected Dr. Paul Katz, founding dean of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. “It’s even more remarkable to think that, in little more than a year, we will be teaching our first class of students—only three years after setting out to start a medical school.”
In 2009, Cooper and Rowan entered into an agreement to form the new medical school. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the nation’s medical education accrediting body, currently is reviewing CMSRU’s application for preliminary accreditation. Once that approval is granted, CMSRU can recruit and enroll students.
“This new medical school will address a national shortage of physicians, which profoundly affects New Jersey,” said George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of the Board of the Cooper Health System. “Not only will there be a focus on educating our New Jersey students, but our hope is that they will support our community by practicing medicine here.”
The six-story medical school building will feature classrooms, teaching and research labs, an auditorium and administrative offices.
HDR, Inc., an architectural firm with offices in Princeton, N.J. that specializes in science/technology-related buildings, is the building’s architect. The structure has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification standards, a status awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The Camden County Improvement Authority is overseeing construction management.
The new medical school is expected to welcome its first class of 50 students in fall 2012. At full capacity, the medical school would serve 400 students.
For information about CMSRU, visit www.rowan.edu/coopermedicalschool.