The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, a private institution based in Nutley, New Jersey, bridges the gap between medical services and the state’s doctor shortages. Opened in 2018, as a joint venture with Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University, the now independent medical school is located near Manhattan via Route 3. The complex includes an introduction of interdisciplinary learning of a three-year path to residency. From the initiation to opening, the complex has undergone project management risks and quality standards. We will analyze the business execution between Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health and their new venture.
Before the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine was completed in 2018, patients from the surrounding counties of Essex and Bergen utilized surrounding hospitals for quality medical care, taking up time and adding additional costs. In 1954, the communities were able to utilize the outdated now closed facilities of Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ). This medical facility was able to provide the community connection of the metropolitan area with Routes 1 & 9. With changings in consumer behavior and advances in the automobile industry creating additional traffic, New Jersey was in a healthcare crisis. UMDNJ was an outdated medical facility that was losing accreditation. Due to these issues along with multiple Medicaid overbilling controversies and loss of New Jersey residents seeking to gain their medical education out of state, a successor of New Jersey’s medical school platform was in dire need of replacement. To answer this blessing in disguise, in the 2010’s, the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine was designed, presented and approved. The $70 million dollar structure would use “adaptive reuse of multi-story research laboratory buildings on a former biomedical research campus, Hoffman-LaRoche headquarters” (Architizer, 2020). Hackensack Meridian Health mentioned the project will have multimodal research laboratory building, high quality research, state-of-the art clinical care and adaptive Wi-Fi services throughout the building.
The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is a private medical school in New Jersey connecting over 13 established networks of hospitals to the surrounding communities of Essex and Bergen county. The structure of the complex was designed by FX Collaborative and built by Torcan. An image of the redevelopment site plan is featured below. The project was jointly funded by Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University with additional funding from private investors and federal funding. Project construction began in 2015 and started accepting MD applications May 2018 (northjersey.com, 2018). The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine creates hundreds of jobs for the Northern New Jersey region. The addition of a new medical school in New Jersey in 50 years keeps doctors in New Jersey and replaces the now extinct UMDNJ and Hoffman-LaRoche headquarters.
(Photo Courtesy of Township of Nutley-Aerial Map of Redevelopment Site, July 16, 2018)
With innovative projects comes numerous amounts of risks. Some of the risks of building Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine include safety hazards that lead to worker accidents and injuries. Given the heavily trafficked area that the campus is located off of and ever-changing weather conditions in New Jersey, there were instances while the project was in process that managing risk was a concern. For instance, the construction crew had to fast track the project in order to keep it on pace, which resulted in an instance of miscommunication and one worker getting struck by a steel beam while working on one of the floors in the building. Also, in 2016, a major East Coast blizzard affected transportation of building materials to the project sites because much of the state was hit with over 30 feet of snow (NJ.com 2016). Architizer and major steel companies lead to teams to work with icy weather conditions. The worker crews had to maintain a safe working environment by allocating their activities with the conditions, such as performing outside construction on the building on warm days. Given that this project had both outside and inside work to be done, the project manager was able to keep the project on task and plan assignments accordingly.
In addition, to keep the project scale on budget, Architizer used existing infrastructure left behind from the Hoffman-LaRoche headquarters. In reference to the Hackensack Meridian Health official website, multiple crews were able to work on the project in divided sections and complete tasks on a twelve-hour work shift. By incorporating the needs of the 21st century medical community into the next generation of doctors, the project was able to incorporate a truly innovative contemporary curriculum and hands-on labs (Hackensack Meridian, 2018).
The new Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is adaptive reuse, which is supported by existing foundations from the original construction of the buildings made before Hoffman-LaRoche and re-engineered to support the existing structure. By utilizing pre-existing structures as a base, companies can save costs by using the existing layout and give project developers an idea to work around. A current image of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is provided below.
(Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Westervelt, @Jen Westervelt Photography 2020)
In order to maintain the project schedule for Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, having stellar communication among all project teams is a must. With the building location being directly off Route 3, construction crews were entering the site at all different times, stakeholders were making site visits, supplies were being delivered and students were attending classes in nearby buildings. To alleviate this combustion system, Hackensack Meridian Health and the builders, Architizer and Prism Capital Partners, followed a three-phase implementation plan that incorporated fast track, reporting, collection and monitoring to ensure a well-oiled communication between all teams. The reporting managers managed all protocols to adhere to Seton Hall University regulations, New Jersey Medical Schools guidelines and Hackensack Meridian Health to have proper communication statues throughout the project. (Hackensack Meridian Health, 2018).
In order to comply with both Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health protocols, both parties “recognized and agreed that certain aspects of the joint venture might be reconfigured as it progressed” (Seton Hall 2020). The major project was subject to multiple corrections in their action plans, phase schedules and work activities were updated weekly to stay on top of all guidelines. This information consisted of work breakdown structures, stakeholder analysis and appropriate permits.
The former corporate U.S. headquarters of Swiss multinational healthcare company Hoffman-La Roche, where the current Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine stands, was originally built in the 1930’s by Hoffman-La Roche and reconstructed in 1994. In October 2016, Prism Capital Partners “purchased the vacant property to begin its transformation of their project ON3, a biotech office space.” (Kiefer 1). Shortly thereafter, Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University were given the authority to open a new school of medicine on the site. Bloomfield based Prism Capital Partners are developers who mainly focused their products on “office, retail, industrial and residential markets in the tri-state region” (Prism 1). Given the company’s large network, Prism allowed different contractors such as Architizer, to implement ideas into the project design site. Both developers and contractors gave procurement opportunities to the local communities to voice their opinions via survey, gave questionnaires to Hackensack Meridian Health professionals and as well as company newsletters to effectively communicate the project milestones.
According to LRHL (N.J.S.A. 40A:12A-7.a.2.), in order for Phase 1 Redevelopment Plan to be completed, the use of enmity domain on existing properties may be necessary and “the school as well as independent or affiliated research activities will be located within the existing buildings of Building 123 and Building Building 123A” (Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine) (Township of Nutley 20). The Township of Nutley utilized effective tax credits to move the development progression and keep the cost of the project responsible for both parties. In addition, the project used rental agreements, Project Initiation requests, Request for Proposals and as well as approving all site qualifications and employee credentials. The Township of Nutley and the City of Clifton received additional bids to redevelop the site as a luxury 200 room 5-star hotel and conference center by an unnamed company but had rejected the offer upon further review in negotiations. In 2016, Prism Capital Partners was awarded the bid and secured the project development. The site developer then received approval of the plans from the Office of New Jersey, Township of Nutley and the City of Clifton.
In regard to business execution, developers Prism Capital Partners and builder Architizer, repurposed and built the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in conjunction with ON3, Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University to address New Jersey’s doctors shortage crisis. In order to accommodate the project time, the teams utilized fast-tracking, to perform activities simultaneously instead of waiting for single projects to be completed. By using this unique project management technique, the “Hackensack School of Medicine project was able to be completed in 2 years”, saving the companies valuable time and capital (Seton Hall, 2018).
Founded in 2002, Prism Capital Partners, LLC is a growing real estate investment firm with focus in investing in properties in the tri-state region of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. All projects that are conducted, “are value-added opportunities in the office, retail, industrial and residential markets” (Prism Capital Partners, LCC 1). The company realized the earning potential in this area and likes to “think outside the box” when executing their project plans. Prism Capital Partners relies on outsider investors as well as internal investors to fund their various complex projects. The company seeks to hold multinational corporations as tenants in their project in order to diversify their portfolios. They hold corporate events in their new buildings, work with various vendors, subcontractors and suppliers in the local community to help complete the projects in the respected region. According to Prism Capital Partners, “internal rate of return on projects in which the principals have served as investors partners exceeds over 24% more than $375 million in equity” (Prism Capital Partners, LLC 1).
Prism Capital Partners are easily accessible to the general public through information on their main website, which provides contact information for their top executives. The company also has their own subcontractors such as Prism Construction Management and Prism Property Services, LLC to ensure project completion. Developing a space for flexible life sciences within the surrounding communities allows Prism Capital Partners to construct major projects and adhere to guidelines set forth by the municipalities, states and townships that they serve.
The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, an innovative private medical school based in Nutley, New Jersey, is bridging the gap between top notch medicine services and addressing the shortage of healthcare providers in New Jersey in the 21st century. The joint venture between Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University, will nurture future physicians of New Jersey by providing outstanding care for future generations. With the use of the project management technique of fast tracking and having multiple builders, such as Architzer, work on the project, Hackensack Meridian Health and Seton Hall University set the new standards for quality healthcare education. By repurposing the once vacant headquarters of Hoffman La-Roche, into a complex healthcare network, the project can implement additional hundreds of jobs into the surrounding areas.
In the modern era, the Healthcare industry is facing rapid global expansion with the use of both technological advancements and new developments in life altering medicines. Now more than ever, the world needs healthcare providers who are dedicated to treating all patients, who are highly committed to offering quality care and instill positive responsibilities of good ethical health concepts into today’s society. Doctors can change people’s lives, be a shoulder to cry on, have kindness, provide comfort and instill hope in others in times of need. With the partnership of Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, the next groups of healthcare providers are to receive high quality education and are ensured that top notch healthcare will stay in New Jersey for years to come.
Jennifer Westervelt is a senior majoring in Business Administration with concentrations in Management and Finance at Montclair State University. She is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and Exercise Science Club. She is very passionate about the sports and healthcare industry. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-westervelt-089951183/
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