St. Matthew's breaks ground for new campus

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 13            March 29, 2001

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Jeffery Sersland addresses gathering at ground-breaking ceremony

A large number of students, faculty and staff of St. Matthew's Medical University gathered with the business community and dignitaries to witness a historic event for this institution Tuesday ñ the ground-breaking ceremony for their new campus. The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Said Musa, was guest of honor. Also present were His Lordship Mayor Alberto Nuñez, Deputy Mayor Baldemar Graniel, Councilors Mel Spain and Domingo Perez, Area Representative Patty Arceo and several honored guests who have made a significant contribution to the success of the university. This proposed new campus consists of six acres of land south of Victoria House and north of Caribe Island Resort.

    In his welcome address, Dr. Jeffrey Sersland, President and CEO of Saint Matthew's University School of Medicine commented, "Saint Matthew's University would like to thank you for your commitment and continuing support as we have grown as a medical institution. We do not only make promises but are committed to what we say. We care for our students and the end result can testify to this. We are here for the long term."

    During his dedication speech, the Rt. Honorable Said Musa mentioned that the government has carefully studied the work of St. Matthew's University and is pleased and satisfied with the professionalism and the integrity of the institution. "We welcome their long term investment in Belize," stated the Prime Minister. Minister Musa also made special mention of Drs. Jason and Westburg from the Government Technical Advisory Committee who are world leading authors on medical education. "We welcome these academics and other professionals known throughout the world for coming to our shores," he ended.

    The development of the new campus will be a state of the art facility to further St. Matthew's commitment to medical education. It will consist of a laboratory, lecture theatres, cafeteria and 200 dormitories. The final construction plans are being completed and will shortly be presented to the Ambergris Caye Housing and Planning Committee for final approval. It is anticipated that the initial phase of the construction project will commence immediately after the clearing of the land and the reclamation of the beach area. They also anticipate that over the next four to six weeks, the construction team (Johnston International) will be ready to begin the actual physical phase of the construction. The over-all project is estimated to cover 200,000 square feet of building space. They hope to design one of the larger buildings on campus to accommodate the island's need for a hurricane evacuation center for the community at large.

    The university is now undergoing a visit by the Accreditation Commission of Colleges of Medicine (ACCM). Members from the National Committee of Foreign Medical Education (NCFME) are also here to observe the process. The Commission completed their site inspection of the University on Wednesday.
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