NEOMED releases first details for third stage of $160 million expansion

Amy Cooknick

Kent State’s partner Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown announced the first details regarding future tenants of its $84 million health, wellness and medical education complex.

The complex, begun in November 2012, is the third stage of a planned $160 million expansion to the medical school, said Heather Bing, public relations and marketing specialist for NEOMED.

Bing said Integrated Wellness Partners and Akron General Health System have already agreed to lease space within the complex for a medical fitness center and therapy services.

“Right now, the plans are still a bit fluid,” Bing said about the number of tenants NEOMED might sign. “We’re leaving space with the intention of hopefully incorporating some physician areas, some pharmacy services and a number of retail components. It will depend on the tenants that show interest and how much space that they require.”

John Wray, vice president for administration and finance at NEOMED, said the original plans for the complex included a three-story medical office building. However, NEOMED decided in December to make that office building a separate project. Signet plans to break ground on that office within a year of completing the medical education complex.

Akron-based Signet Enterprises is constructing the 177,338-square-foot complex, featuring a fitness center, pool, conference and catering services, therapy clinics, classrooms and lecture halls, retail services, primary care offices and dining areas. Bing said Signet is also the developer for NEOMED’s student housing village.

The new facility consists of several floors, divided into areas for academics, medical centers and businesses, Wray said. It connects with the existing facility along State Route 44 on the east side of the campus.

“It does follow the pattern of all of the Akron General facilities that have been built,” Wray said. “They’ve all been built with these other components in there first, and then the medical office building came about a year afterwards. If we don’t start it in the next sixth months, it means it’s probably going to be finished in 2015.”

Wray said he believes the medical education complex provides opportunities for further study and more campus involvement that will benefit future enrollment at NEOMED.

“It will be a nice place to come and stay,” Wray said. “I think that this will be well-received and really put [students] together in a community.”

Bing said having more places for students to gather will advance the entire NEOMED community.

The new complex is expected to open to NEOMED students and the community in July.

Contact Amy Cooknick at [email protected].