Rowan, Rutgers break ground on joint higher-education facility in Camden

The groundbreaking for the Joint Health Sciences Center in Camden on Thursday brought local, state and federal officials together to celebrate a facility that will provide education and training opportunities for careers in health care and biomedical research.

The facility, which is set to open in the spring of 2019 at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Broadway in downtown Camden, will be run by both Rutgers University-Camden and Rowan University, making it the state’s first multi-institution higher education facility.

Rowan and Rutgers-Camden joined forces with funding from the Biomedical Facilities Act and the Education Bond Act.

“The next generation of health care professionals from New Jersey’s finest institutions will join forces at this state-of-the-art center in Camden, where they will be educated and trained to save, protect and change countless lives,” Gov. Chris Christie said.

“This bipartisan development is a national model, leveraging the resources of several medical schools, universities and colleges to save taxpayers and students money. We are again breaking new ground to bolster the regional economy, create jobs and continue transforming Camden into a medical and health sciences center for New Jersey. Don’t blink, because City Invincible will soon be renowned as America’s hub of health care innovation.”

Construction of the 95,000-square-foot building is expected to generate about $72 million in economic impact in the Camden alone.

“The Joint Health Sciences Center is already benefitting our community economically, and will grow to do much more in the future,” Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. said. “This project will bring the best and brightest to Camden to specialize in research and scientific innovation. In the years to come, the two buildings will have to hire staff and educators and work with local contractors for a variety of services as well. This will facilitate new job growth for residents and new revenue opportunities for existing businesses.”

The Joint Health Sciences Center is designed to co-locate students from different academic disciplines to share laboratories, equipment and classrooms, exposing students to a broader educational experience and encouraging the connection of talents, goods and services.

“We’re seeing the future of science, the future of medicine and the future of education right here in Camden,” U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross said. “Thanks to the collaborations between our South Jersey institutions, Camden is both attracting and retaining great students and educators. This center will bring world-class research and hundreds of jobs to our area and I look forward to seeing our ‘eds and meds’ corridor continue to grow.”

The center will include Rutgers-Camden, Rowan, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Camden County College and Joint Board of Governors administrators.

“Thanks to Gov. Chris Christie, Congressman Donald Norcross and Senate President Steve Sweeney, for the first time in New Jersey, one facility will co-locate important functions of two, four-year institutions, two medical schools and a county college, all with the goal of providing a continuum of research, education and training opportunities,” Kris Kolluri, CEO of the Joint Board of Governors, said.

Christie said the facility is another major moment in the revitalization of Camden.

“This groundbreaking today is another milestone in our ongoing commitment, not only to our higher education community, but to the city of Camden,” he said. “As part of the broadest and boldest restructuring of New Jersey’s higher education landscape in decades, this 95,000-square-foot facility will help to strengthen and elevate medical education in our state and particularly here in South Jersey.

“We want to ensure that our residents have continued access to well-trained doctors as well as other health care professionals, and encouraging those doctors to put down their roots here in New Jersey and stay here, make a life here, build a family here.”