Cooper Hospital Plans $117 Million Expansion

Thu April 29, 2004 - National Edition

CAMDEN, NJ (AP) Cooper University Hospital is scheduled to begin construction of a $117-million expansion this summer that is expected to add 300 jobs to the city’s largest private employer.

“We foresee nothing but continued growth in the future,” Cooper chief executive officer Christopher T. Olivia said.

The additions will include a six-story tower between Cooper’s two main buildings that is expected to add 50 to 60 beds. The hospital now has approximately 550 beds and 3,500 employees.

The three-year plan also will expand the emergency room. Designed for 25,000 annual visits, it now handles 45,000, due in part to the closing of the Virtua Health emergency room in 2001.

The Camden County Improvement Authority on April 15 approved issuing up to $90 million in bonds, backed by Camden County, to finance the project. The hospital expects to borrow $80 million of that. Of the balance, $25 million would come from Cooper Health System and $12 million from a $175 million state fund for Camden.