Cooper University Hospital formally named its new 10-story patient Pavilion in honor of Joseph J. Roberts, Jr., former Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly and longtime supporter of Camden and South Jersey. The announcement of the “Roberts Pavilion” was made today at a dedication ceremony with nearly 400 business, civic and government leaders in attendance.
“Cooper University Hospital has only paid tribute to an individual by naming a building in their honor two times in its 125-year history,” explained George E. Norcross, III, Chairman of the Board of Cooper. “Because of his tireless work on behalf of the City of Camden, Camden County and all of South Jersey, we’re proud and honored that Speaker Roberts will become such an important part of Cooper’s legacy.”
Speaker Roberts, a Camden resident, was the primary proponent of the Camden Recovery Act, a much-needed catalyst for the ongoing transformation of Camden. The Act brought together the Education and Medicine sector. The “Eds & Meds” each received funds to work towards building better education, healthcare and a solid foundation for the growth of Camden. For Cooper, funds from the Recovery Act provided seed money for the expansion of the Cooper Health Sciences Campus, including the construction of the Roberts Pavilion. Resources from the Recovery Act also helped launch the transformation of the local neighborhood, including rehabilitated local parks, creating pedestrian-friendly streets, and renovated abandoned and dilapidated housing.
“Cooper would not be what it is today without the leadership of Speaker Roberts,” noted John P. Sheridan, Jr., President and CEO of Cooper. “He is a man of his word and a champion of healthcare and education. His vision and foresight helped make the Cooper University Hospital patient Pavilion a reality.”
Roberts began his government service in 1976 when he was elected to the Bellmawr Board of Education followed by his election to Borough Council. He then served on the Camden County Board of Freeholders for seven years (1980-1987) and was the Freeholder Director four of those years. Roberts took his seat in the New Jersey Assembly in 1987. From there he won re-election an unprecedented eleven times. He was Majority Leader from 2002 to 2006 and Speaker of the Assembly from 2006 to 2009. Speaker Roberts has been recognized throughout his career as the voice for those who didn’t have a “seat at the table.”
The Roberts Pavilion is a $220 million, 312,000-square foot, 10-story patient pavilion with 60 private patient rooms, 30 state-of-the-art critical care beds, expanded Emergency Department, 12 operating room suites, and a modernized and automated laboratory facility. Opened officially in December 2008, it features an expanded customer-friendly lobby with patient amenities including a Patient Services Center, Business Center, Patient and Family Education Center, Gift Shop, Chapel, Oasis Restaurant, a gourmet coffee shop, and a 24-hour vending area.
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