CHARLOTTE – The Queen City’s skyline is in for some changes.

The Wake Forest School of Medicine-Charlotte, Charlotte’s first four-year medical school, will sit on 20 acres just outside of uptown Charlotte, Atrium Health CEO Eugene Woods announced on Wednesday.

The school, a partnership between Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health, and Wake Forest University, will sit close to Carolinas Medical Center, which Atrium Health operates. The site sites along McDowell and Baxter streets adjacent to US-277.

“This location for Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Charlotte campus will provide our students the perfect mix of expertise,” said Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, chief academic officer for Atrium Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine, in a statement released by the company Wednesday. “And with the latest technology, whether students are learning in Winston-Salem or this new, second campus, their immersive experience will be second to none.”

The company believes that the construction of the new medical school, which could begin as soon as 2022, will create and cement a regional corridor of health technology and innovation from Winston-Salem to Charlotte. A goal: convening community to deliver quality care to patients in half the time, thus contributing to advancing economic equity.

A study by Tripp Umbach, recently commissioned by Atrium Health, projects that the new school of medicine and its spin-off activities is projected to generate an additional $5.2 billion in economic impact and create nearly 43,000 jobs during the next 20 years.

“I believe it will become an iconic addition to the Queen City skyline,” said Woods.

Atrium Health graphic

The initial class of first-year medical students is expected to begin their medical school education in 2024, according to the company. s

Along with the announcement of the school’s location, Atrium Health also announced the Bishop George E. Battle Junior Scholarship Fund to support the continuing education of those living in underserved communities, and will seed the fund by pledging $5 million in a matching campaign and raising an additional $5 million prior to the time enrolled students sit for their first classes.

“A second campus for Wake Forest School of Medicine in Charlotte is truly a significant milestone for both health and education in the Southeast,” said Nathan O. Hatch, president of Wake Forest University. “It will also be a driving force for innovation in the corridor between Winston-Salem and Charlotte. This will further strengthen the academic bonds Wake Forest has with Charlotte and help advance learning, economic growth and opportunity.”

Atrium Health and Wake Forest Baptist Health officially merged in October 2020, and the merger included Wake Forest School of Medicine, after originally sharing the intention to do so in April 2019.

“As the healthcare field goes through the most transformative period in our lifetime, in addition to a new medical school, our vision is to build a ‘Silicon Valley’ for healthcare innovation spanning from Winston-Salem to Charlotte,” said Woods, in a statement about the partnership and merger the company said last October.