First pharmacy college on way
Larkin Community Hospital is moving ahead with its college of pharmacy, the first in Miami, and plans to open it in September 2016.
Rather than wait for groundbreaking on the 48-acre site that the hospital bought in the Naranja Lakes community near Homestead, the hospital is installing the school at 18301 N Miami Ave., the former Everest University building, which it recently bought for $5.5 million, said Dr. Jack Michel, president and chairman of Larkin. He told Miami Today it’s more cost effective at this time to renovate the 44,000-square-foot building than to build a new facility and then eventually move the college of pharmacy to the Naranja Lakes campus.
Dr. Michel said the hospital doesn’t want to slow down its goal to have a health sciences campus in Naranja and decided to forge ahead once it found the Everest University building.
“We’ve been working on a master plan for what can be done in Naranja and are still analyzing the timing of how the campus will evolve over the next 10 years or so,” he said. The hospital in 2013 spent $4.2 million on the property at Southwest 280th Street and 145th Avenue. The hospital said at the time of acquisition that over 10 years it planned to spend $68 million on the campus.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Michel noted, Larkin received a $5 million incentive from Miami-Dade County through its economic development fund. He said the money, approved by the county commission in a group of multi-million-dollar economic development incentive grants for major projects, is slated for the health sciences campus’s infrastructure.
The Homestead campus has 1.4 million square feet for development of the health sciences campus, which is to include Larkin’s existing School of Nursing and College of Biomedical Sciences and its proposed College of Pharmacy, College of Medicine and College of Dentistry.
Dr. Michel said the campus will be a model of interdisciplinary training and be anchored by a Magnet Middle School and a high school designed to attract minorities currently attending Miami-Dade public schools into healthcare professionals.
Once it opens, the medical school is expected to train 150 doctors in a four-year program. In addition to the schools, plans include student housing, medical and professional office space, and support buildings.
At this time, Dr. Michel said, the hospital doesn’t have a firm date when the campus will open. There are a lot of moving parts, he said, but the hospital will have a better idea by the end of this year.
The for-profit Larkin Community Hospital is designated as a statutory teaching hospital with more than 200 medical, pharmacy and dental residents in 32 specialty programs at clinical settings in South Florida, primarily within federally qualified centers including Community Health of South Florida (currently the only teaching health center in Florida offering its own three medical programs), Borinquen Health Care Center, Miami Beach Community Health Center and Jessie Trice Community Health Center.