Inspira land purchase promises new opportunities for Rowan medical schools

Inspira land purchase promises new opportunities for Rowan medical schools


The Rowan University Board of Trustees authorized the University’s administration on Tuesday, Feb. 16 to negotiate a letter of intent that will lead to the sale of 100 acres of land to Inspira Health Network for the construction of a new medical center on Rowan’s West Campus in Harrison Township, Gloucester County.

Rowan paid $10.1 million for the proposed site at the intersection of Rts. 55 and 322 approximately a decade ago. Rowan’s Board asked University leadership to negotiate the price of the property based on today’s appraised value. The sale also will be contingent upon Harrison Township transferring 34+/- acres to the University at no cost, land located at the southern tip of the West Campus that is valued at approximately $1 million. Rowan will retain 234 acres on the southern half of its West Campus and nearly 300 acres on the north side for future development. Its main campus comprises 200 acres, located approximately 1.5 miles away in Glassboro.

“The sale will be much more than a land transaction—it’s an expansion of a partnership,” said Dr. Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University.

“We are excited about the construction of a major medical center on, what is for all intents and purposes, our West Campus. It provides us with a wide range of educational opportunities and also acts as an anchor that will attract health care providers and businesses. We also expect it will spur research in biomedical sciences and other related fields at our South Jersey Technology Park,” added Houshmand.

Inspira’s new $350-million, 175-200 bed medical center is projected to create hundreds of temporary and permanent jobs. The health care network, which is headquartered in Mullica Hill, already operates three hospitals, four multi-specialty health centers and more than 100 service locations throughout the region. Its newest facility, an urgent care center, opened this past fall on Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro.

“Inspira has been a longtime partner of Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM),” said John DiAngelo, president and CEO of Inspira Health Network. “Today, Inspira has medical students doing rotations and residents doing post-graduate work in specialty areas. We are committed to expanding the relationship to include partnerships in such things as clinical trials, biomedical research and innovations affecting hospital and clinical practices, as well as developing undergraduate internships and educational opportunities in business, health care management, information systems, biomedical engineering, nursing and allied health.”

Rowan is one of only two universities in the country to offer both M.D. and D.O. (osteopathic) medical degree programs. Kennedy Health System is RowanSOM’s principal hospital affiliate but RowanSOM has varied levels of relationships with several other hospital systems including Inspira, Lourdes, Virtua, AtlantiCare, Meridian, Christ Hospital and Atlantic Health. Cooper University Health Care is a partner of Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU) in the City of Camden.  

“New Jersey is expected to need 3,000 physicians by 2020,” said Dr. Kenneth Blank, senior vice president for Health Sciences for Rowan University. “Our goal is to double enrollment in both of our medical schools to help narrow that gap. We will need to grow our partnerships with all of South Jersey’s hospital systems and create new ones in Central and North Jersey to begin to meet the need.”

RowanSOM currently enrolls 647 students at its Stratford campus. It is investigating, with AtlantiCare, the viability of creating another four-year campus, likely in Atlantic City.  CMSRU has 261 students in a five-story building adjacent to Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

In addition to negotiating the final sale price and specifics of a partnership agreement, Inspira will need to apply to the state for a certificate of need. The evaluation process can take up to a year to complete, and construction is expected to take another two years.