Categorized | National News

$64 Million Medical University for GB

A heads of agreement was signed yesterday between the government and Western Atlantic University for the construction and operation of a $64 million medical school in Grand Bahama.

According to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, some 200 permanent jobs will be created for Bahamians.

Western Atlantic University has agreed to employ an overall ratio of 80 to 20 in favor of Bahamians.

The $64 million investment has also been approved to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in allopathic medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, nursing and nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. 

The construction will take place in four phases, with the first to begin by the end of the year.

“The major development will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy over time and provide direct and indirect opportunities for scores of residents,” Dr. Minnis said.

“It will help Grand Bahama build. This development will include university-owned housing for faculty, staff and students on campus.

“It will also encompass on campus businesses, including a bookstore, cafeteria and student center providing music, food, beverage, a copy center and related services.” 

Further, Western Atlantic University intends to build its campus on land to be leased from the Public Hospitals Authority, a maximum of 50 acres, which the Dr. Minnis said will be leased in three tranches upon the university’s satisfaction of certain deliverables. 

Phase one is expected to be completed in September 2020 and provide between 50 and 75 permanent jobs on the campus.

This, he added, is expected to increase between 10 and 15 percent as student enrollment increases.  

“Phase three is expected to be ready for occupancy by September 2022 to accommodate growth to 500 medical students by September 2023,” Dr. Minnis said.

“During phase four, which is scheduled to begin in late 2022, the campus will need to continue its physical expansion with ongoing construction. 

“Campus enrollment is expected to reach 1,000 students by 2029.”

Western Atlantic University School of Medicine CEO Peter Goetz said international students will be in the country for the long term.

“Students are going to be here for 20 months at a time and they are going to sign two year leases. When our first students come, they are not going to short be timers. They are going to be here for two years at a time,” he said.    

“Their families are going to come. This is the renaissance of bring you and vibrancy to Freeport and we can’t wait to get started. I’m so pleased to be home and thank you for having us.” 

For Bahamians who wish to attend Western Atlantic, the university will make available five concurrent scholarships through the Ministry of Education.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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