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Southwest College Of Naturopathic Medicine officials break ground on a new expansion to its Tempe, Ariz. campus. (KTAR Photo/@BobMcClay)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A Tempe medical school officially kicked off an expansion on Wednesday.

Ground was broken on a new, 47,000-square-foot building for the Southwest College Of Naturopathic Medicine.

"We're bursting at the seems. We need more classroom space," said SCNM CEO Paul Mittman, adding that the building will be "one that will serve the public and the school for the next 10, 20, 30 years."

The school's enrollment has jumped nearly 60 percent since 2008.

In addition to the classrooms, the new $9.5-million facility near Broadway Road and the Loop 101 will feature a naturopathic pain center, a cafe and a demonstration kitchen where the public can learn to cook healthy meals. It also will have a larger library than the school has now and it will be open to the public.

The school also has future plans to add new degree programs and community classes to match what it calls "the growing interest in naturopathic medicine."

The new building is scheduled to open in September.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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