Medical College Receives $1.5 Million Grant To Renovate Former Scranton School Building
SCRANTON — For decades, high school students took business, industrial arts, homemaking and other courses in a two-story building on Adams Avenue.
With the help of a $1.5 million state grant, the medical college will use the building to train future health care professionals.
The project to renovate the former William T. Smith Manual Training School, also known as the Manual Arts Building, will provide extra classroom and office space and allow for additional master’s programs and student enrollment.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced today that Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine will receive the funds through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
“This is a great thing for Scranton,” Wolf said during the announcement in the school’s lobby, across the courtyard from the Manual Arts Building. “We really are making our health care system better ... this is a very wise investment for the commonwealth.”
The $8.5 million project will expand available space for the college by 23,500 square feet. The college purchased the building from the Scranton School District in 2008, at the same time the college purchased the parcel on Pine Street for its main building. Since then, enrollment has grown tremendously, with the college practically “bursting at the seams,” said Steven J. Scheinman, M.D., the college’s president and dean and chief academic officer of the Geisinger Health System.
The college plans to start offering professional science and informatics master’s degrees in the next year, with plans to start genomics and pharmacy system science degrees in two years. The programs will bring more students, and provide more health care professionals, to the region.
“The economic benefits ... will more than justify the wisdom of this investment,” Scheinman said.
Abby Smith, widow of coal mining executive William Tallman Smith, had the school built in 1905 next to the former Technical High School. She gave the building to the Scranton School District to teach trades to the future workers of Scranton. After a fire in 1969, the school was rebuilt.
Renovation plans call for much of the building’s old character to remain intact, with a glass bridge connecting the renovated structure to the modern main building.
The project also received a $5 million gift from Scranton native and real estate developer, the late Gerald Halpin. The college plan to call the building Halpin Hall and plans a formal announcement soon.
The grant from the state is the latest investment of public money. In 2006, the state gave the Northeastern Pennsylvania Medical Education Development Consortium $35 million to help establish the school.
The money helps improve the lives of residents in Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond, State Sen. John Blake, D-22, Archbald, said.
“We need to continue to invest in this asset,” he said.
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