By Brian Bohl, Staff Writer
Construction on the Hofstra University School of Medicine facility will be finished in June, completing the project two months earlier than scheduled, University officials said.
The north-campus building, which once housed the New York Jets headquarters, is expected to be ready for occupancy in August. The medical school's first class will begin in September 2011.
"It's been a gut renovation," Joseph Barkwill, vice president for facilities and operations, said. "The only thing we kept were the exterior walls. Everything else is gone."
Work started last October on the facility previously known as Weeb Ewbank Hall. The Jets left Hempstead for a new facility in Florham Park, N.J. in 2008 making the 47,000-square foot building available.
A $10 million New York State grant funded the renovation, Barkwill said. The academic building will include a u-shaped lecture hall that can fit more than 100 students and space for 35 faculty offices.
The first floor will have four small classrooms with eight additional rooms on the second floor. Each small classroom will be able to accommodate 8-12 students, serving as small meeting areas that can be used for seminars, group conferences or as study areas. All of those rooms will be equipped with screens that can be connected to computers, Barkwill said.
An anatomy lab will also be on the first floor and include a cadaver dissecting room and cold storage center.
In addition to the lecture hall, the second floor will feature a large class room, a conference room, library and additional office space, including the dean's office.
The University submitted a 3,000-page application in December to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), continuing a process for the University to have an accredited medical school. The LCME voted to grant a site visit, which took place from March 14-17.
June Scarlett, the medical school's associate dean for administration, said the site survey was designed to show the LCME it could substantiate the claims made in the application.
"They looked at everything from our plant curriculum to the facilities, faculty and other resources to implement the educational program," Scarlett said.
According to Scarlett, the University received a perfect score in the LCME's five categories used to gauge a school's capability of properly teaching physicians., based on a 0-5 grading system.
"They had never seen a school with all fives across the five categories, so they applauded our efforts," Scarlett said.
The first medical school will start at approximately 40 students and increase incrementally by 20 every year before reaching a cap of about 100 students per class. The University is partnering with North Shore-LIJ Health System and will be Nassau County's first allopathic medical school.
North-Shore LIJ's system includes 15 hospitals and is Long Island's largest employer with 37,000 employees.
"We are jointly owned by Hofstra and the health system," Scarlett said. "It isn't an affiliation. It's not as if one can walk away. It's not just a financial arrangement."
The medical school's administration, which currently is located in the Axinn Library's second floor, will move over to Weeb Ewbank Hall in the summer. But the facility is only expected to be the medical school's temporary home.
Barkwill said he expects a new north campus building to be ready in 2015 that will be the permanent home for the School of Medicine. Once the new building is completed, Weeb Ewbank Hall could be a ready-made venue for other programs.
"We'll use it for something else," Barkwill said. "There's talk about an engineering school. We wanted to create a very aesthetically pleasing and functional building knowing that we always need more space for growth."