Officials with Mercer University School of Medicine and Memorial University Medical Center gathered Friday afternoon to dedicate the medical school’s newly reconstructed and expanded medical education and research facility next to the Memorial campus.
The $18 million dollar project began in October 2014. The expansion added 30,000 square feet of space for education and research and an additional 26,500 square feet of classrooms, offices, labs and library space were renovated as part of the project.
That expansion makes way for a 50 percent increase in enrollment at the four-year medical college in Savannah, bringing the Savannah campus up to the enrollment level of 240 after four years — equaling the number of medical students at the university’s original Macon campus.
That means 60 first-year medical students, instead of last year’s 40, will don their white coats at Mercer’s Savannah campus this summer.
“Together, Memorial and Mercer share a common goal to train doctors to meet the healthcare needs of the medically under served in our state,” said Maggie Gill, president and CEO of Memorial. “We are excited to partner with Mercer to train even more medical students here in Savannah.”
The expansion will impact research as well as education, said Mercer President William D. Underwood.
“This project will expand the capacity of our cancer scientists and researchers,” he said. “The work conducted here in partnership with the Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial strives to move research findings from the laboratory to a patient’s bedside within five years, a process known as translational research.
“This is one of only a few facilities in the country conducting translational research on the molecular genetics of cancer, making Memorial one of the Southeast’s leading centers for the treatment of cancer.”
Mercer graduates began coming to Memorial to complete their residencies in the late 1980s, and in 1996, Memorial became a clinical campus for Mercer, providing rotations for third- and fourth-year medical students. The medical school campus went to full four-year status in 2008.
In addition to providing many of the faculty members at the medical school and the facility in which its students gain their first clinical experience, Memorial also offers six residency programs in its post-graduate medical education program.