Lots Of Potential

January 23, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Saint Mary’s Health Care is investing in its future, and perhaps in the future of West Michigan’s health sciences economy.

The health system recently purchased approximately four acres of commercial property adjacent to its Grand Rapids campus.

“Saint Mary’s is growing,” said President Philip McCorkle, “and acquiring this property will meet some of the expansion needs we foresee in the future.”

That may mean administrative offices or physicians’ suites, but it also could mean classrooms. As one of the “stakeholders” involved in the institution’s move, Saint Mary’s would be happy to welcome the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine as its neighbor.

“From Saint Mary’s perspective, there are many options being considered, and this could certainly be one,” said McCorkle.

Denise Holmes, assistant dean of government relations and outreach for MSU College of Human Medicine, said that a move to the property between LaGrave and Jefferson avenues is a possibility.

“They certainly have introduced the idea to us,” she said. “And we’re evaluating that option along with several other options that have been made available to us. But we have not reached any decision about a site at this point.”

The new facility built to house the medical school may likely be situated near the developments along Michigan Street, known informally as the “medical mile” or “pill hill.” But since the MSU medical school already partners with both Saint Mary’s and Spectrum Health, its presence will not be limited to one location no matter where construction takes place.

“Certainly we will have teaching opportunities that are distributed. I could envision using multiple facilities for various functions that medical students participate in, either in the education process or for faculty participation in research, or faculty participation in clinical practice.”

Regardless of whether McCorkle and the Saint Mary’s staff are able to see the new medical school out of their office windows, Holmes is confident that Saint Mary’s will benefit from its proximity.

“Certainly the facilities at Saint Mary’s, in and around Saint Mary’s, (those) that are adjacent to Saint Mary’s complex, potentially will get used for clinical practice, teaching or research, whether we end up locating the medical school building on the land that’s near them or in some other location.”

The land was purchased from Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. The purchase price was not disclosed; however, the 12 lots have a state equalized value of $1,584,200, according to county records.    

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