By Jonathan Lieze
CCC Journalism Program
CAMDEN – Work proceeds on a joint Health Sciences Center in Camden, N.J. The Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors announced plans for the construction of a state-of-the-art center in 2015 and recently announced plans for an additional building across Broadway from the first. The facility will be accessible to Rowan, Rutgers-Camden, Camden County College and Cooper Medical School students.
Construction is set to begin this spring on what the Board of Governors is calling Phase I of the project that will make up the new Health Sciences Center on the 200 block of Broadway in Camden. The board hopes to complete all construction by late 2018 or early 2019. Phase I will total 95,000 square feet on the west side of the street and will support some instructional programs, feature a world class simulation center and house biomedical research laboratories. Phase II of the project proposes a second building directly across the street that will feature a unified health science library, classrooms, labs, a research incubator and healthcare related retail and office spaces.
The project is a part of the ongoing renovation program in the city of Camden. According to the Economic Impact report published by the Rowan University/Rutgers Camden Board of Governors, the cost of the first two buildings will be an estimated $70 million, which is being publicly funded. The new building will be funded through a mix of public and private funds at a cost of around $65 million. The report also states the project will help the economy of the city.
This will be the first facility of its kind open to multiple colleges in New Jersey, said CEO of the Board of Governors Kris Kolluri. “This will provide an education ladder between two- and four-year universities,” Kolluri said. “The board was formed to provide a platform for research and a platform for the people of Camden, with the vision that it would leverage existing education, research and medical assets in Camden to create and sustain economic growth in the city and the broader South Jersey region.”
Even though they are a still a year or so away from opening their doors, the buzz among the campuses has already started to grow. Camden County College student and health science major Kim DeMarco is excited about the opportunities the health science center will bring to students. “It should be really helpful in the medical field because it will cater directly to classes and experience you will actually need in the workplace as opposed to just random prerequisites,” said DeMarco.