New health sciences building prepares to break ground

Leah Bryce

Part of the building plans for the new health sciences building to be complete by March 2019.

As the mass communication building comes to its final stages of construction, MSU prepares to break ground on a new health sciences building. Two years ago, the university was granted the tuition-revenue bond from the state to pay for these new buildings.

“Buildings are a recruiting tool,” James Johnston, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said. “Current state of the art technology and bringing the simulation center on campus which is usable to a number of different disciplines will hopefully help new students coming in see the family atmosphere in and among the technology.”

The new building will cost upward of $50 million, but according to Johnston, the state bond will cover the cost. The estimated date of occupancy is March 2019.  

“My view is a building is an instrument there to help deliver the instruction and the program that we have on this campus,” Johnston said. “This building will take us a significant step forward in how we are able to teach in those disciplines.”

The present health sciences building, Bridwell Hall, is about 47,000 square feet — the new building will be about 87,000 square feet. Similar to Moffett Library and Dillard College of Business Administration, this building will include an area for students to have access to food, in a “grab-and-go” style.

“It also allows both passive and active interdisciplinary learning. We set aside a place for interactions of cross disciplines,” Johnston said. “It’s a complete shift and step forward from we’ve been able to do in the past.”

According to Johnston, the building is designed like a dome stage so that every classroom can be viewed from the lobby. Another goal the department has is for theater department and health sciences students to work together by acting as patients for the health care disciplines.

“What is currently the parking lot behind the McCoy Engineering Hall and the street between McCoy and Bridwell Courts will come out and the trio building will come down and the new building will go there,” Johnston said. “We will take that parking lot and part of the street and create a new green space. In preparation for parking we are creating a lot the same time we are demolishing it.”

With the medical field constantly growing and changing the health care majors are rising in numbers. At MSU, the College of Health Sciences holds the largest student population.

“We did a benchmarking trip to Tarleton’s new nursing building. McKinney had a new Health Science building and we looked in and around the Dallas and Fort Worth metroplex,” he said. “After the benchmarking trip we had a long list of what we didn’t want, and when we drew up the plan we stuck a lot to our original ideas.”

While on the benchmarking trip to other campuses, Johnston and his committee tried to design the building unique to stand out from others in the region. When picking his committee, Johnston chose the chairs of each department in the College of Health Sciences and Human Services.  

“It fits the identity and the mission of who we are,” Johnston said. “Research tells us that the more we learn in an interdisciplinary environment the more that carries into practice. So in this case of healthcare delivery this includes the quality of health care we would experience in this region when students become professionals. I hope to see more collaboration across campus through this building. I hope it doesn’t just serve as a health science building, but as an MSU building.”   



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