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Las Cruces (KDBC) — A brand new medical school will soon call Las Cruces home.
That's according to Governor Susanna Martinez, who was in the City of the Crosses Monday to talk about the potential impacts not only the region, but the entire state.
It's being called the biggest enhancement in medical education in the history of New Mexico.
The $85 million Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine will be entirely privately funded.
That means no funding from the legislature of from taxpayers.
Daniel Burrell is the man behind it all. The Santa Fe businessman said Las Cruces is the perfect place to build.
“Right now, as a state, we don’t have a medical school in southern New Mexico. It was a logical place,” Burrell explained. “But it really needed the leadership of someone like Garrey Carruthers.”
NMSU president, and former New Mexico governor, Garrey Carruthers, said the private-public partnership will benefit all involved.
Even though the medical school is not at all affiliated with NMSU, the university will get $260,000 a year from the school in rent and the university will also feed future students into the program.
“There are good reasons for them to be on campus,” said Carruthers. “There are lots of students on campus that they want to attract. So I said you can do it, but only with private money.
When it opens it’s doors in the fall of 2016, 150 students will be enrolled. But enrollment numbers are expected to grow to more than 1,200 within the first four years.
And that’s important, all but two of New Mexico’s 33 counties have been deemed by the federal government as having a primary physician shortage.
Governor Martinez hopes the new college will change that.
“They will be the physician in the smaller communities. They will live there and usually where doctors train is where they stay,” said Martinez. “So if we can have that kind of location in the southern part of the state, we will really be spreading those physicians across the southern part of the state.”
And then there's the economic impact.
Construction will bring close to 600 jobs to the area.
susana martinez: “Once it is completely open, there will be 400 germinate jobs and anything that comes with it as well,” explained Martinez. “So there is about a $77 million impact on the southern part of the state.”
And that is what Burrell has set out to do.
“I’m looking at investments that will try and solve problems in the state of New Mexico and try and solve inefficiency’s,” he said. “If we can do that with government, universities, nonprofits, or foundations, it is a win win for everyone.”
The program will also coordinate with local hospitals in Las Cruces and El Paso to provide internships for students once in the program.
Construction is set to begin sometime after the new year.
Texas Tech, another medical school in the region, said this is good news.
The school sent News Channel 9 a statement Monday, reiterating that the region is experiencing a big doctor shortage saying a new medical school will only help.
Texas Tech said it also hopes to explore opportunities for partnerships between the two schools.
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