The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) is projected to have a statewide economic impact of $34.5 million by the time it opens in 2013, according to an independent study done by a national consulting firm.
The impact on the state, region and local economy is expected to rise to $81.8 million by 2020 and $116 million by 2030.
Figures were announced Wednesday by the research firm Tripp Umbach, commissioned by the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce to conduct the economic impact study. Tripp Umbach, headquarted in Pittsburgh, Penn., provides economic impact analysis, market research and strategic planning to healthcare organizations and academic health centers nationwide.
The economic impact on Houston County alone will be huge, with the project expected to create 67 jobs by 2013 and nearly 400 by 2030. During that same time period, county tax revenues are estimated at $800,000 by next year and $2.5 million in 18 years.
"Our city, county and the business community recognizes the importance of the healthcare industry, which Tripp Umbach has placed at about $2 billion a year," said Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Parker.
"For so long we have tried to estimate the impact of this sector on our economy. The construction of the college motivated us to look at not only the overall impact, but to have a secondary study on the impact ACOM will have on this area. It's important to know as we develop our future economy and it helps us identify related areas of growth. This is the highest quality study by a nationally renowned firm."
Construction began in January on the state's first osteopathic college and the first in the nation to be developed by a regional not-profit hospital, Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
The16-month construction phase is expected to create 311 jobs and have a statewide impact of $87.4 million, according to the economic impact study.
The intent to build a four-year college was first announced to the public in the spring of 2009 by the Houston County Health Care Authority. The Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) granted the school Pre-Accreditation status in late 2011. A Provisional Accreditation site visit was held in March.
The initial building on the campus will be 110,000 square feet with a construction cost of $40 million. The first class of 150 medical students will arrive on campus in August 2013 and graduate in the spring of 2017.
The college is being constructed on Cowarts Road, two miles east of SAMC.