$2B expansion of Cooper University Health Care’s Camden campus is largest investment in county history

Cooper University Health Care, together with MD Anderson Cancer Center, on Tuesday formally announced plans for a $2 billion expansion of its Camden campus.

It is the largest investment in Camden County’s history.

$2 billion, three new buildings with state-of-the-art facilities, more than 100 new beds, greater education and teaching space and the very latest emerging technologies and innovations: When completed, the project will dramatically expand the academic health system’s Camden campus to meet the current and future expected demand.

Gov. Phil Murphy, former Gov. Chris Christie, as well as Cooper board Chairman George E. Norcross III, co-CEOs Kevin O’Dowd and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli, and the trustees were all on hand to celebrate the announcement of the unprecedented investment in the South Jersey city.

“Camden has seen a dramatic transformation in recent years, as many state and local partners have worked together to improve the city, and Cooper has played an integral role in those efforts,” Murphy stated. “By supporting public safety, educational opportunities and job creation, in addition to providing quality medical care, Cooper has taken a holistic and meaningful approach to strengthening the health of the community it serves. I applaud this new expansion and Cooper’s ongoing work to improve the lives of Camden residents.”

“Not only does this announcement represent the culmination of Cooper’s amazing turnaround since it faced bankruptcy at the turn of the century, but it is also a sign of our commitment to and faith in Camden, its residents and our shared future,” Norcross said. “Cooper’s commitment to its home community is a model of how corporate leadership can spark imagination and new opportunities that benefit local residents. Camden’s transformation from being America’s poorest and most dangerous city to one on the rise is a national model of what cities can achieve with commitment, faith and hard work.”

The project is expected to take a decade to complete.

Construction of the first building, which will be used for clinical care and education, is scheduled to begin next year. It will be situated at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard and Haddon Avenue, Cooper officials said.

A later stage of the plan will create more than 100 new private rooms. When the project is completed, Cooper will have 745 beds in all.

The $2 billion investment will increase Cooper’s capacity to deliver high-quality health care in the region and will solidify its place as a vital partner in promoting the health and well-being of the community. It will give its dedicated professionals the resources, innovation and flexibility to continue to serve, heal and educate the community and allow the hospital to further recruit top-notch talent.

“Today is a celebration of all the professionals who have served at Cooper over the last 135 years. Cooper has grown into an elite, nationally recognized academic health system, and this amazing transformation could only have been achieved through the tireless effort of dedicated and committed team members,” O’Dowd said. “Today, we say thank you to all those who have served on the Cooper team for making possible this milestone announcement, which will solidify our role in the community for the many decades to come.”

“Cooper has dreamed big and achieved their dreams of transforming into a leading academic health system in the South Jersey region,” TV personality Kelly Ripa stated. Ripa was unable to attend as scheduled, and sent her message via video. “Having grown up in the area, it’s especially meaningful to be invited to participate in the announcing of Cooper’s latest major investment, this time in Camden, demonstrating their commitment and the power of imagining a bigger and better future for local residents.”

Ripa has a long connection to Cooper. For a number of years, she was the public face of the health system, and she helped launch the Ripa Center for Women’s Health and Wellness at Cooper in Voorhees.

Cooper, which is well known as the leading academic health system in the greater Philadelphia region, comprises the busiest Level I trauma center (Cooper University Hospital) in the region, a leading cancer center (MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper), the only Level II pediatric trauma center in the Delaware Valley (Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper), three urgent care centers and more than 100 outpatient offices across South Jersey.

It has more than 8,900 employees, including 1,600 nurses and more than 850 physicians and 450 advanced practice providers practicing in more than 75 specialties, making it the largest private employer in both Camden city and county.

Monday’s announcement builds upon the more than $3.5 billion that has been invested by private and not-for-profit employers and developers, and is just one of many upcoming investments to the city and its future. The state of New Jersey recently approved $300 million for the rehabilitation of the Rand Transportation Center, a vital link to the Camden suburbs and Philadelphia that will spur further investment in the city as it continues its unprecedented revitalization.

Today, major corporate and nonprofit employers that call Camden home and are investing in its future include American Water, Campbell Soup Co., Rutgers University-Camden, NFI, Holtec, the Michaels Organization, EMR, Camden County College, Rowan University, CSB, the Philadelphia 76ers and Lockheed Martin.