Orange County Partnership - News

Touro College will open it's doors in the Fall of 2014 in Middletown.

By Michael Novinson
Times Herald-Record

MIDDLETOWN — Some $24 million of renovation work is underway at Touro College's new Middletown campus, now that the site has received accreditation for a medical college.

Officials touted the economic and medical benefits Tuesday of converting part of the old Horton Hospital site into an osteopathic school, which is slated to open in August 2014.

"This will increase regional health and save lives," said Ron Israelski, medical education director of Orange Regional Medical Center, at a ceremony attended by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.
About a quarter of doctors remain in the area where they received their medical degree, Israelski said. Increasing the number of doctors in the region is expected to boost the quality of medical care — particularly in areas with poor health indicators such as Sullivan County — and generate lots of new economic activity.

First class begins next fall
Middletown's first 135 students will begin working toward their four-year medical degrees in the fall of 2014, with the Horton campus set to reach its full capacity of more than 500 students and 100 staff in 2017. Several hundred other spin-off jobs are also expected.

Touro hopes to draw most of its students from Orange and Sullivan counties, said Ken Steier, who's slated to be dean of the Middletown campus.

Studies will be grounded in the more holistic osteopathic approach, Steier said, and will emphasize primary care fields such as family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.

Once Touro grows to full capacity, the school will fill 110,000 square feet of the 380,000-square-foot Horton campus. Horton stopped operating as a hospital in August 2011, when Orange Regional Medical Center opened its new hospital in the Town of Wallkill.

"You have a terrific adaptive reuse of this vacant building," Duffy said.

Property owner Tony Danza said he hopes to fill most of the rest of the campus with related projects such as 250 units of student and faculty housing, a 200-student school in health-related professions, and an assisted living facility. He also hopes to bring a Veterans Affairs office to the site.

Orange Regional is preparing for the influx of medical students by, for the first time, hosting 10 undergraduates from Touro's Harlem campus for core medical rotations.

Israelski said the hospital plans to host larger numbers of Harlem students in coming years to prepare for 2016, when the inaugural class of Middletown students begins its third year of study and starts to fill local hospitals on rotations.