Area's second new medical school comes together

Another new medical school was topped off in the Tampa Bay area Monday. Workers placed a tree at the top of Nova Southeastern University’s new Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine just off the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater. 

Patel contributed $150 million toward the new school, which is scheduled to open next August at the former site of Clearwater Christian College. 

"You will see the lives that can be touched," said Patel. "It’s beyond imagination and beyond what money can buy."

Officials say the school will begin with around 150 in a class and eventually train up to 250 physicians a year. 

"Health professions are the fastest growing and the greatest need," said Dr. George Hanbury, president of Nova Southeastern University. 

The university has had a campus east of Tampa for about 10 years. Nursing, physical therapy, psychology, and other programs are scheduled to move from that location to the Clearwater campus, which covers nearly 30 acres, according to Hanbury.

Patel says the university is in talks with HCA and Florida Hospital-Adventist to provide hospital training for students. 

Monday's topping off in Clearwater follows a similar ceremony last week at USF's new Morsani School of Medicine and Heart Institute in downtown Tampa. USF has an existing medical school on the main north Tampa campus, but officials say the school will grow with the move downtown in late 2019.

Hanbury said the new Patel College of Medicine in Clearwater will also establish health clinics in the community. 

"The beauty here is we're going to be able to provide both health and education," said Patel.