Cooper Medical School of Rowan University took a major step today with a ceremony to begin clearing the physical site for the new medical school building. Camden Mayor Dana Redd; Cooper University Hospital President and CEO John P. Sheridan, Jr.; Rowan University President Dr. Donald Farish; Rowan University Board Chair Helene Reed; and Founding Dean of the Medical School Paul Katz, MD, put on their hard hats as an excavator with grapple began taking down a vacant building, marking the official start of construction on the site in Camden.
The clearing of the site will take approximately two months and is the first of several construction milestones. Cooper Medical School of Rowan University will be located on Broadway between Benson and Washington Streets. The $100 million, 200,000 square foot, six-story building is projected to be completed in the summer of 2012 when the medical school welcomes its inaugural class.
“For Cooper, for Rowan, and for the neighborhood, this is a new chapter,” said John P. Sheridan, Jr., President and CEO of Cooper University Hospital. “For more than 120 years, Cooper has been dedicated to this City and the people that call it home. Our revitalization efforts continue to make great strides, and this medical school is a symbol of progress for the future.”
“Our commitment to the City of Camden is only strengthened with the construction of this medical school,” said Dr. Donald Farish, President of Rowan University. “It’s gratifying and exciting to be at the forefront of this kind of development, shaping the future of medical education.”
The medical school will welcome approximately 50 students in its inaugural class and will grow to accommodate 400 medical students at its full capacity. The building will include classrooms, research laboratories, offices and an auditorium.
“We predict that this school will continue the progress already being made in this neighborhood,” said Paul Katz, MD, Founding Dean of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. “I have been so impressed with the commitment of Cooper and Rowan to this community. We are going to incorporate that dedication into the curriculum for each medical student that passes through our school.”
Sheila Davis, secretary of Lanning Square West Residents in Action, reflected on the positive change the medical school will have on their neighborhood. “It is important that our neighborhood support the efforts to bring focus on education. The building and the partnerships it represents gives our community and our City hope. It provides the children who will watch it grow something to aspire to become.”
As part of a commitment to involve the community, this month, the Camden County Improvement Authority is hosting informational workshops for contractors and building suppliers from throughout South Jersey to educate them about the bidding process for construction of the medical school. The workshops will be led by project leaders and are designed to enable local business participation by providing information on pre-qualifying, contractual requirements and understanding the bidding process. Networking sessions for general contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers will be held after the workshops.
The next step for the medical school site, once the parcel has been cleared, is a planned ground breaking scheduled for October.
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