By Taylor Williams and Ray Strickland
Home to the Bio-Med Science Academy, College of Graduate Studies, College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University, NEOMED, is a unique place for a variety of students to receive an education.
In recent years enrollment numbers have jumped, forcing NEOMED administration to reconsider the size of its campus as well as the resources on its campus.
Through bonds and private investors, the university has been able to put $176 million into its facilities and resources for not only its students, but also the community members.
“We envision this campus now as bringing in the community – eliminating the white ivory tower that is higher education” said Sergio Garcia, chief of staff and vice president of the office of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Although NEOMED has received backlash from Moody’s Investor Services about the debt collected due to the renovations, Garcia ensures the revenues from all renovations are helping reduce the debt amount.
The $176 million was put toward three renovations: On-campus student housing, The Village, the Research and Graduate Education Building and the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center.
Transforming from a strictly commuter-based university to a residential one was a priority for NEOMED. With this money the campus was able to build the first-ever on-campus housing.
The Village is comprised of three, four-story buildings with “339 beds in the three facilities that we currently have,” said John Wray, vice president of administration and finance.
The facilities also include study spaces and community areas to accommodate for the increase in NEOMED students and took approximately $37 million from the budget.
“The students have responded very well; they feel like its very much something that was necessary and needed at this time,” Wray said.
With total enrollment expected to reach 1,550 by 2016, NEOMED needed more than just on-campus housing.
The university also poured $45 million into a research and graduate education building, according to this press release.
“We have a state of the art facility that really brings forward our research areas and our focus areas,” Garcia said. Now our facility has multiple lab benches where faculty members and collaborate and graduate students can collaborate.
With the latest addition of the NEW Center, NEOMED has been able to add a community aspect to their campus. This facility is the largest of the new additions and totaled to approximately $84 million.
“The NEW center brought the community from the outside, our students, our faculty members into one area,” Garcia said. The facility offers health and wellness services to students, farmer’s markets to community members and much more.
Garcia said he feels like these renovations bring value add to the taxpayers, where they can see and feel and actually use our university for their education and their own wellness.
Community members, like Woodie Goodnight, owner of Angelo’s Pizza, see the benefits of NEOMED in their own business.
“They help us out, first of all they bring a lot of students, a lot of people not only through the medical college but through the events they do,” he said.
But the growth of Rootstown has been a major point of discussion for some.
“There is a lot of discussion going on right now about controlling the growth of NEOMED and controlling the growth of the township as a whole and I think both discussions need to be had,” Goodnight said.
NEOMED’s expansion has not only begun to benefit the campus by increasing enrollment and creating new jobs, but has also benefitted the community in ways that smaller businesses cannot.
“The township government can do good things for the community as a whole,” Goodnight said. NEOMED plays a large part in that.
Northeast Ohio Medical School Gives To Local Rootstown Community
Video by Ray Strickland