COLUMBUS – Columbus community leaders have offered Mercer University a new site where it will locate its expanded four-year medical school campus that was announced last May.
Original plans called for the renovation of an existing building owned by the W.C. Bradley Co. on 11th Street downtown. Subsequently, a new site owned by TSYS, a Global Payments company, just north of the company’s existing Riverfront Campus in Uptown Columbus, was proposed to the University.
The new location will allow for construction of a free-built structure to better suit the needs of medical school students, faculty and staff, and will also provide an iconic locale on the banks of the Chattahoochee.
“We would like to thank the W.C. Bradley Co., TSYS, Global Payments and the Columbus community at-large for the spirit of collaboration and overwhelming generosity they have shown during the planning phase of this process,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Mercer University School of Medicine in Columbus will be among the most beautiful medical school campuses in the country and will stand as yet another testament to the ethos of this vibrant community and its investment in solving one of this region’s most pressing needs by training future generations of medical doctors.”
“TSYS and Global Payments are proud to make this significant gift to Mercer University for the benefit of the entire Chattahoochee Valley and the broader medical community,” said M. Troy Woods, chairman of Global Payments. “For many years, TSYS has been a leader in the development and building of our community, and today our commitment is stronger than ever.”
The planned 77,000-square-foot, two-story facility will enable the School of Medicine to increase its enrollment in Columbus to 240 Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) students over the next several years, eventually equaling the size of campuses in Macon and Savannah. The expansion is backed by generous support from the local community, which will be matched by the University, as well as operational funding from the state.
“The opportunity given to Mercer University School of Medicine to develop a four-year campus in Columbus will be transformational for the health of west Georgia,” said Dr. Jean Sumner, dean of the School. “This site is incredibly beautiful and well located. The gift reflects the servant leadership that characterizes this amazing community.”
The new facility, expected to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022, will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, research facilities and office space. The School of Medicine is recruiting and hiring new faculty and scientists for the expanded medical school campus in Columbus. The inaugural class of first-year M.D. students is scheduled to enroll in August 2021.
Mercer’s involvement in the Columbus community dates back more than 20 years when the School began sending third-year medical students to do clinical rotations with local physicians and with then Columbus Regional Hospital.
In 2012, Mercer started offering clinical education to third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus, establishing the University’s third medical school campus in partnership with Midtown Medical Center (now Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital) and St. Francis Hospital and admitting a total of 12 students. Currently, the School enrolls 40 students in Columbus.
About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)
Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.