PISCATAWAY, NJ – The groundbreaking on the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center at Rutgers University earlier this month signaled a new partnership between Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health to create a comprehensive sports medicine program to serve Rutgers athletes, students and communities throughout New Jersey.
Through this partnership, RWJBarnabas Health will become the exclusive health care provider for Rutgers Athletics, while creating a best-in-class sports medicine program that can be expanded across the state.
Rutgers University President Robert Barchi and RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO Barry H. Ostrowsky joined university, RWJBarnabas Health, state and community officials to break ground on a 295,000-square-foot, four-story sports facility and parking deck located adjacent to the Rutgers Athletics Center in Piscataway. The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center also will be the headquarters for a world-class sports medicine program.
RWJBarnabas Health will develop and manage the program, which will provide Rutgers’ 625 NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletes with an extensive array of health care services and pursue advances in sports medicine.
“This partnership between New Jersey’s State University, with its academic health center, and the state’s most comprehensive integrated health system, will be transformational on many levels, giving our students and athletes a world-class sports medicine program and helping us construct a cutting-edge athletic training facility,” said Barchi.
RWJBarnabas Health is investing a total of $18 million to create a sports medicine program and for construction of the facility, which will be completed by July 2019. The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center will be built on the site of the existing parking lot southwest of the RAC and northwest of the Rutgers Business School.
The RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine program will be comprised of athletic trainers, physical therapists, sports medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, sports psychologists, psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists, sports performance specialists and nutritional experts.
The RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine center will be accessible to the entire Rutgers community and the public, in addition to Rutgers athletes.
"It is our mission to bring the best of academic medicine, research, education and providers together to create healthier communities in New Jersey. This partnership represents the next natural step in bringing together The State University of New Jersey and the state's finest health care system," said Ostrowsky. "This will allow both of our organizations to leverage resources to serve the Rutgers students, faculty and surrounding communities. With the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center serving as the cornerstone for a nationally recognized collegiate athletics and sports medicine program, we look forward to investing in academic medical education, sports performance and overall community wellness."
In addition to the sports medicine center, the building will provide a state-of-the-art practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling and gymnastics. The investment also will fund upgraded sports medicine equipment and facilities at the Hale Center.
“Our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health is a testament to the leadership of Dr. Barchi and Barry H. Ostrowsky,” said Rutgers Director of Athletics Patrick Hobbs. “They share a vision to provide our students, and athletes across the state, with the very best in sports medicine and together we will do that. Everyone is coming together to provide our students and coaches with the resources they need to compete at a championship level. This is a day to celebrate the commitment of our Governor, our partners in the Legislature, and the many Rutgers alumni and friends who are responding to our call to be all in.”
The sports medicine program will also aim to advance academic opportunities in sports-medicine fields. Affiliated physicians and practitioners will be able to hone sports medicine skills in a Big Ten practice setting, whether in the renovated Hale Center, RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center or on the sidelines at athletics practices and games.
This collaboration follows another strategic partnership announced recently in which RWJBarnabas Health will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years to advance medical research at Rutgers University’s medical schools to attract highly regarded researchers and increase National Institutes of Health funding.
“This is the next step in a partnership that will help us recruit nationally recognized researchers, specialists and clinical staff to provide the highest quality clinical care, leading-edge research, and top-tier health education and create a nationally recognized academic health center in New Jersey,” said Brian L. Strom, Executive Vice President of Health Affairs and Chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.
“R Big Ten Build,” a targeted campaign to raise $100 million for new or upgraded facilities, was launched on Jan. 20. Phase I, created in collaboration with the University Physical Master Plan, includes three projects: The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center, a Lacrosse and Soccer Training Complex and a Football Training Complex/Expansion of the Hale Center.
“R Big Ten Build” surpassed the $50 million milestone in just 15 weeks. The initiative has received 10 donations of more than $1 million, including the three largest gifts in Rutgers Athletics history, which combine to exceed $11 million. As of mid-October, 1,571 donors had contributed $31.5 million, totaling $56.5 million toward the campaign. In addition, tax credits of $25 million, which await final approval by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, will help fund the construction.
Construction is expected to begin in spring 2017.