NEOMED update: improvements underway at Kent State Medical partner


Photo courtesy of NEOMED

Matt Lofgren

Kent State medical partner Northeast Ohio Medical University, or NEOMED, is putting $130 million toward student housing, a health and wellness center and a new research building at its Rootstown, Ohio, campus.

NEOMED partners with Kent State, University of Akron, Cleveland State and Youngstown State to offer degrees in the fields of medicine and pharmacy. Growing enrollment at NEOMED and expanding fields of study led the university to look into going from a commuter school to a full-fledged campus.

Mary Henefeld, director of auxiliary services, said 18 months ago, campus expansion was just an idea centered on NEOMED’s 40th anniversary in 2013.

“We’re really moving forward and I think this is going to be an amazing thing for the community; for northeast Ohio,” Henefeld said. “From what started out in this little farm town here in Rootstown is going to become a major league campus.”

At NEOMED, which currently has about 1,000 enrolled students, the clanking of hammers and sight of cement trucks are welcomed. The residential complex will have 350 single and double, fully furnished rooms.

“I had 15 kids sit around one night, bought them dinner, chitchatting, and I said… ‘Out of curiosity, if we had really nice, not dorms, but graduate-type housing on campus, how many of you would live here?'” Henefeld said. “Every single hand in the room went up.”

With this housing unit due to open in August 2013, NEOMED is partnering with Signa Development to build the units for the 2013-14 school year and Portage Management to handle students’ rent.

“I have no doubt that these things are going to fill up fast and then we are going to think to ourselves ‘Man, maybe we should have built more’ and we left space so we could do that,” Henefeld said. “We can still expand: we have room for one more building.”

Along with the new housing, NEOMED will unveil plans in December for a health and wellness center. Already, part of the frame is up for the university’s Research, Entrepreneurship, Discovery and Innovation Zone, or REDIzone.

Heather Bing, public relations and marketing specialist, said REDIzone will include classrooms for pharmacy students and spaces for research. It will also be open to outside researchers to come in and work alongside NEOMED staff and students.

With its ongoing campus improvements, NEOMED hopes to be a recognized university that will continue to graduate world-class medical professionals.

“I would love to, at some point, see us become a regional health campus,” Henefeld said. “I think the potential is unbelievable and I think we’ve got some really smart people sitting up in the higher offices with a lot of vision. So, I’m hanging on for the ride.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected]