Future doctors will one day study and train at the Drexel University College of Medicine's branch campus, located just off Park Road in Wyomissing.
Officials with the university and West Reading-based Tower Health turned an idea two years in the making into a reality, breaking ground on the new campus at The Knitting Mills on Monday.
"It's estimated that about 40 percent of the physicians stay in the communities where they train, and this is that opportunity," said Clint Matthews, Tower Health's CEO.
The opportunity for home-grown doctors isn't the only benefit officials are looking forward to; bringing in a med school may be a track to something more: passenger rail to Philadelphia.
"I'm hoping that our university can be instrumental in the future developments here at Reading," said John Fry, Drexel University's president, "whether it's the desire maybe to bring rail service in a capacity here all the way through the economic development throughout the county."
"This is an absolute game-changer economically for this region," said Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach.
Leinbach said having a medical school branch campus changes the entire focus of bringing passenger rail to Berks County. He said with Drexel's med school there, people will need to go back and forth between Philadelphia and Reading.
"I'm hopeful that this will be the catalyst we need to see viable passenger rail service between Wyomissing, Reading and the Philadelphia area," said Leinbach.
The medical school is on track to open to 200 students at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.