The “heart of Coral Gables” could soon see the opening of a new University of Southernmost Florida campus, Dade Medical College president and CEO Ernesto Perez said.
The for-profit school is currently in negotiations to secure 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of classroom space in the city at a location Perez would not disclose Tuesday.
“We are in the middle of negotiating in the heart of Coral Gables and haven’t signed a lease yet,” he said. “What we are looking to do is bring something convenient for students and to the service community.”
Perez, who co-founded Dade Medical College 14 years ago, said the school currently serves about 2,000 students at its six campuses that range from Jacksonville to Homestead. There are also branches in Miami, Miami Lakes, Hollywood and West Palm Beach.
Last year, the expanding Dade Medical College purchased Jacksonville’s Southern Career College and renamed it University of Southernmost Florida. The goal for the new Gables campus is to ultimately serve about 1,000 students over the course of about two years if the new site opens for classes in February as planned.
The Gables location, he feels, will let Dade Medical College function well as a feeder site to the University of Southernmost Florida. “As Miami Dade College acts as a feeder to FIU, we are setting one up for our kids who will fully transfer our credits into the University of Southernmost Florida and they won’t be limited to the healthcare field. They can earn MBA in healthcare administration, there are a lot of plans.”
Program offerings, in small class sizes, will include business administration, public administration and master’s degrees in nursing leadership and nursing education. Hospitality and hotel management are also on the agenda.
Dade Medical College has also secured space for its corporate office at 95 Merrick Way, which should open by year’s end and the University of Southernmost Florida’s admissions and financial aid offices are set to open in November in the former H&R Block building at 178 Giralda Ave. Both office space moves are already done deals, said Gables City Manager Pat Salerno. The college is not building a new site for its proposed classrooms but moving into existing office space.