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As the Northeast Ohio Medical University moved through a critical phase of its construction process, it was time for the NEOMED community to make their mark on the newest building on the Rootstown campus.
The last piece of steel on the Research and Graduate Education building will be placed today, and on Friday that beam was placed on a walkway, where students, faculty and the community were invited to sign it.
While most used provided markers to simply sign their names, others left tributes to be permanently imbedded in the structure.
One such tribute was left by a member of the "class of ... I'm gonna be here forever."
"Second MD/PHD," the student wrote. "This building will be my home."
Dr. William Horton, dean of the college of graduate studies and vice president of research, left his own signature on the beam, writing, "One small beam for the building, one giant step for NEOMED."
He said the building is expected to open in May, and this weekend, the last of the steel framing will be done. The beam signing, he said, was open to anyone who happened to be on campus that day, including faculty, students and any residents who wanted to sign.
"We really wanted them to be part of this," he said.
Nearby stood a sample column, featuring the brick that will be used on the exterior of the structure so visitors can see its similarities, and its differences, from the building that will stand next door.
"We wanted to have it within the context of our existing, campus, but we also wanted to make it more modern and add more glass," he said. "I think it's going to be beautiful."
The structure will house 20 existing scientists, as well as 10 more being recruited to work on the campus, and will house all of NEOMED's graduate education classrooms, lecture halls and offices.
The existing space on the campus will be renovated to house the "Redizone" that will include 10 commercial businesses that have partnered with NEOMED. It also will temporarily house the Bio-Med Science Academy, prompting one student of the academy to write, "Finish this building. Start the school."
To the north of construction, work in progressing on the residential housing village. A mock-up of the buildings, featuring the same furniture and layout that will be available in the new apartments, is under construction and is expected to be available for students to visit in the weeks ahead. The housing village will be completed in August.
Land also is being cleared at the front of the campus for the Health and Wellness center.
All told, the buildings will cost about $130 million.
Dr. Charles Taylor, the new dean of pharmacy at NEOMED, also was among those signing the beam and observing the construction. The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences will be located in the Research and Graduate Education building once it is complete.
"We're looking forward to the opportunity to discover new medications, and improve upon the ones we have," he said.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139