In the thick of it.
I’m writing this letter from my new office. It’s half the size of the old one and has no windows, but I’m not bitter.
Seriously, I’m not. I’m not bitter because the reason we moved was that a research program was growing and needed more space, five new staff members were hired because of a multimillion-dollar grant, and 21 students were entering an academic program that’s being housed in the old building. All good things, all of which came to fruition after years of hard work by faculty and staff.
From the new place, I can see the buses ferrying students from the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College to the nursing education center that just opened across from the Medical School building. Hundreds of Brown staff members will move in phases this fall to the same building, boosting the population (and, yes, the traffic) in the once-quiet Jewelry District. In the next two years two biotech incubators will open next door, promising high-paying jobs and advances in health care.
This cliché is overused, but so appropriate: if you build it, they will come. When we opened the Warren Alpert Medical School building in 2011, we said it would be a beacon that would bring new life to the area. After a few quiet years, we began to doubt whether it would play out as we envisioned. But finally, it’s happening, and you can feel the excitement and positivity that come with educating the next generation of health care practitioners, giving people good jobs, and infusing the local businesses with traffic.
From where I’m sitting, that’s not a bad place to be.