NEOMED kicks off 40th anniversary celebration

Emily Mills

The Northeast Ohio Medical University dedicated its Research and Graduate Education Building and the Village at NEOMED on Monday as the kickoff to its yearlong 40th anniversary celebration.

Jay Gershen, NEOMED president, called the opening of the research building and on-campus housing facilities “an incredible transformation of this campus.”

“We have transformed from a single college to a university with three colleges: medicine, pharmacy and graduate studies,” Gershen said.

The plans for the two new buildings were first discussed by the Board of Trustees about two years ago, said Austin Fredrickson, a fourth-year medical student and student trustee.

He said the plans were finalized about one year ago with major construction starting soon after.

“Six months ago, none of this was here,” he said.

The Research and Graduate Education Building is a four-story, 88,000 square-foot, $45 million facility that will house the university’s College of Graduate Studies, Gershen said. The building will also house more than 40 basic science researchers and their teams.

The building is a part of NEOMED’s Research, Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation Zone, which will house 10 startup companies. This will allow the biomedical industry to expand into the commercialization of intellectual property, Gershen said.

The Village at NEOMED consists of three four-story buildings containing 339 single and double fully furnished apartments. These apartments will be available to students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The Village was built as a public-private partnership between NEOMED and Akron-based development company Signet Development, Fredrickson said.

Gershen said Signet Development paid for the new facilities, not the state, which would have been done through capital state appropriations.

“(The university) didn’t have to raise tuition one cent for it,” Fredrickson said.

Kathleen Chandler, Portage County commissioner and former mayor of Kent, said NEOMED is the 10th-largest employer in the state with the construction project alone, creating 300 new construction jobs.

Tony Manna, chairman and CEO of Signet Development, said the $166 million investment was a combination of vision, risk and leadership on the part of the developers and NEOMED.

“It’s a group of people committed to doing absolutely great things,” he said.

Speakers at the dedication included Gershen; Mary Taylor, the lieutenant governor of the state of Ohio; John Eklund, senator for the Ohio Senate 18th District; Kathleen Clyde, representative for the Ohio House of Representatives from House District 75; and Mary Woolley, president of Research!America.

Continuing the celebration, the Health, Wellness and Medical Education Center will open in summer 2014. The center will house a recreation center, medical-treatment center and BIOMED STEM, a science, technology, engineering and mathematics high school.

Emily Mills is the health reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] .