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Hofstra medical school plans expansion

An artist's rendering of the new building is

An artist's rendering of the new building is displayed during a ceremony for the ground breaking of a new, 65,000-square-foot expansion of the school's medical education center at Hofstra University in Hempstead. (June 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine is doubling its space with a new 65,000-square-foot building, two years after enrolling its first class.

The medical school, currently housed in a renovated building once used as a New York Jets football training facility, will construct the two-story building on the adjacent field. The two buildings will connect through an atrium.

The first floor will feature a 241-person auditorium, a 7,000-square-foot lab, a multipurpose room and event space for medical conferences. The second floor will include 12 small-group classrooms, a dean's suite, a faculty suite and offices.

The medical school -- which began in 2011 with a founding class of 40 -- has grown to 180 students for the 2013-14 academic year. For the class beginning in August, the school received 5,500 applications for 80 spots. The classes eventually are to be capped at 100 students.

The school, a partnership between Hofstra and the North Shore-LIJ Health System, emphasizes small group learning instead of lectures and hands-on learning rather than memorization. It requires each first-year student to become an emergency medical technician.

Founding Dean Dr. Lawrence G. Smith said students have an average GPA of 3.6, out of 4.0, and MCAT scores of 33 or higher.

The enrollment growth and expansion "re-emphasizes our core mission of training the next generation of physicians," Smith said Tuesday.

The project's estimated cost is $35.9 million, $14.5 million of which is provided through $25 million in New York State Economic State Development Corp. grants secured by Hofstra in 2008. The building is expected to be completed by January 2015, Smith said.

A portion of the 2008 grant was used to renovate the medical school's current building in 2010.

The $21.4-million balance for the new construction will be financed through bonds issued by the Town of Hempstead Local Development Corp., university officials said.

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