ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO)- The UIC Health Sciences campus in Rockford is set for a major expansion.
College administrators have announced a $100 million dollar project for a new building, which will focus on educating rural health professional in fields including dentistry, social work, and public health.
“What we want to do is increase the number of health professionals that can work and interact with the individuals in rural Illinois and to improve their health and improve their longevity,” said Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green, the regional dean for the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford. “We’re going to be adding another 400 to 500 students, graduate-level students, onto this campus.”
Stagnaro-Green believes the expansion will provide an economic boost to the region by not only creating new jobs, but introducing hundreds of people to the Forest City.
“That will literally double the number of students that we have, it will increase the number of faculty that we have, it will increase the number of staff, and that will have a marked impact on the fiscal status of our city and of Winnebago County,” he said.
The pandemic has shown that there is a greater need for healthcare professionals statewide, according to Stagnaro-Green.
“I think what Covid-19 did is it highlighted the differences between healthcare availability in rural versus urban areas,” he said.
The school still needs to secure more funding before the expansion can move forward. The hope is that construction will begin in 2023.