Drexel University and Tower Health celebrated a significant milestone on May 18 as the final beam was lifted into place, “topping off” a new College of Medicine facility in Wyomissing, Berks County.
Tower Health, a major healthcare system based in Reading, Pennsylvania, is expanding its partnership with Drexel through a 20-year academic affiliation agreement and a new six-story structure for the College of Medicine. A ceremony was held Monday to honor the final 30-foot structural steel beam (of 3,109 total) being lifted into place.
“Tower Health has a growing relationship with Drexel University to advance its academic strategy,” the healthcare system wrote on its website. “[We] are collaborating to build an additional site location for Drexel’s College of Medicine in Wyomissing, less than one mile from Tower Health’s Reading Hospital. When fully operational, Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health will have the capacity to train and educate up to 300 medical students.”
The revolutionary College of Medicine at Tower Health will boast classrooms, lecture halls and learning communities. Medical students will also have access to an anatomy laboratory, specially-designed patient rooms and simulation labs in the new state-of-the-art facility.
Clint Matthews, President and CEO of Tower Health, said the biggest goal in working with Drexel to develop the new facility is to support the education of highly-skilled and trained physicians to serve patients in the region.
“It has been more than two years since we announced our intention to create this additional site location for Drexel’s College of Medicine in Berks County,” Matthews said. “Our innovative collaboration will bring together rigorous medical education from Drexel and a clinically-advanced training environment from Tower Health’s flagship, Reading Hospital, to create a premier destination for physicians of the future.”
The construction project was given a waiver allowing construction to continue during Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order, deemed an essential healthcare project. It is on track to open for the 2021-22 academic year.
Drexel and Tower Health broke ground on the project in June 2019. The physical structure is being constructed using over 2.6 million pounds of steel, 6,000 cubic yards of concrete and 41 tons of reinforcing steel bar.
“[It was] certainly a history-making occasion,” Drexel President John Fry said of the “topping off” ceremony May 18. “[It was] a major milestone in building this impressive medical school campus. Our new home for medical education is the bricks-and-mortar evidence of the success in creating groundbreaking academic affiliation between our two great institutions … it could not have come at a better time.”
Currently, Drexel and Tower Health are partners in North Philadelphia’s St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
The Wyomissing facility is scheduled to welcome up to 300 students beginning in the 2021-22 academic year.