Medical school in Martinsville still a possibility, for now

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MARTINSVILLE (WSLS 10) - A Martinsville man's dream of opening a medical school in the city remains alive.

On Tuesday, the state tobacco commission gave Dr. Noel Boaz 12 months to make more progress on the school before possibly asking him to pay back the $800,000 grant the commission gave him.

Had he not received more time, the grant would have to have been paid back because the school will not be opened by the fall of 2017, as originally planned.

But the money has already been spent, which means the city would have had to pay it back since the city received the grant for him.

Boaz said when he met with tobacco commission representatives in Richmond on Tuesday he was asking for a two-year extension to meet the requirements of the grant, but is happy with one.

"They gave us one year to meet a quarter of that," Dr. Boaz explained. "So, actually that's a little bit lower of a bar, so that's fine with us."

The original requirements of the grant were to have 111 people hired and at least $1 million invested in the local economy by the end of the grant period. There is still one year left in the grant period.

Boaz said he is confident that he has an investor lined up to contribute the $25 million required for certification by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education so that he will be able to apply for accreditation in August and then be moved to candidate status later this year with accreditation being received sometime in 2018.

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