By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- The opening of a new medical technology school has been postponed, as organizers say initial financial backing has been hard to come by.
“We didn’t get the grants we were hoping for so we’re putting things on hold,” said Jack Roche, founder of New England Institute of Medical Technology set to open in Derry. “We’re searching out other funding sources, but it really depends on the money.”
Though originally set to open in January, classes likely will not start before July, said Roche, of Derry.
The yearlong program will prepare students for the Certified Surgical Technologist exam, which certifies people to assist surgeons in operating rooms.
Full-time students will spend the first six months in traditional classes, followed by three months of laboratory instruction and a final three months in an internship at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
Roche began applying for private grant funding to purchase laboratory equipment earlier this year but said he has yet to secure enough money to get started.
“The funding sources we reached out to said that due to the economic situation that there’s very little money available,” he said. “But they did encourage us to reapply.” Roche said some unexpected support has come from Derry residents.
“I didn’t know there would be such an interest among the general population of Derry and that people would donate,” he said. “I was going after grants, but we’ve had a couple donations from private citizens, which was really surprising and really nice.”
Roche had been eyeing the street-level vacancy at 6 West Broadway for opening the new school, but said that with delays the group will likely expand its search throughout the town.
And while Larry Muzerall of the school’s board of trustees said the setbacks have been frustrating, he said they give the group more time to organize.
“We’ve been moving 150 miles per hour to get this ready,” he said. “This slows us down a little bit and gives us time to breathe.”
Muzerall lives in Derry and is the director of business development for Sedona International of Nashua. He said he and many other board members are new to the fundraising and grant-seeking process.
“We’re disappointed that we haven’t received the funding necessary, but I think it’s partially because we’re new at trying to raise money,” he said. “It’s a new experience for us, and we’re learning how to do this better.”
But if money is scarce, Roche said student interest has been the opposite.
“Students have been calling me, and I’ve been collecting their information to keep in touch with them,” Roche said. “We have our students; I’m not really concerned about that.”
Parkland Chief Executive Officer Tina Legere says her staff is also eager to begin working with Roche’s students.
“We already have students that come in from other programs throughout the state, but what will make this unique is that it will be local and it will really tie up that local, community feel,” Legere said. “We’re excited to see this come to Derry and Parkland is very happy to be a part of that.”
For more information about the New England Institute of Medical Technology, contact NEIMT@got-hr.com.