CAMDEN — Ground has been broken for a new Joint Health Sciences Center.

Construction on the 95,000-square-foot building is expected to generate about $72 million in economic impact in this troubled city. When it’s completed, the facility will bring together Rutgers-Camden, Rowan University, the Cooper Medical School of Rowan, the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Camden County College.

Kris Kolluri, CEO of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Joint Board of Governors, said the project will encourage a new kind of collaboration and teamwork.

“We have a real opportunity to develop a massive footprint here in Camden where we can attract biomedical research, and then eventually convert that from idea to marketplace,” he said.

“With this new facility, we believe that Camden is positioned very well to take advantage and become a strong 'eds and meds' corridor and a strong research center.”

Kolluri says education and medicine is one of the strongest growing sectors in the state and it’s expected to create 24,000 new jobs just in the Camden area over the next decade.

“But it is also about making sure that we become a net contributor to the state’s economy and to the region’s economy,” he said.

“We think Camden is positioned well not only for the benefit of the city and for the region, but for the state as well — and that’s good for the economy, and that’s good for the state’s budget.”

Kolluri pointed out the Joint Health Sciences Center will be unique.

“You have folks from Camden County College all the way to doctors and researchers working collaboratively.”

And that collaboration is the goal.

“But more importantly, our objective is to make sure we create a pipeline of students who can meet the employment demands of the various healthcare institutions in New Jersey.”

Kolluri pointed out the Joint Health Sciences Center will serve as a model for how other state-funded institutions can avoid the need for duplicative facilities, thus lowering the burden on taxpayers.

He noted the Joint Board of Governors was formed as part of the higher education reform law in 2012, to promote an education- medicine “platform” in Camden that would focus on job-training and research.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Sign up for the NJ1015.com Newsletter

Get the best of NJ1015.com delivered to your inbox every day.