UCA breaks ground on Integrated Health Sciences Building

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CONWAY, Ark. (News Release) — The University of Central Arkansas hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Integrated Health Sciences Building on Friday, Oct. 11 on the UCA campus. 

The new 80,000-square-foot, four-story facility will be home to the School of Nursing and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, along with the Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation and the Interprofessional Teaching Center to be utilized by the entire College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

“This new facility will have an immediate impact on the nursing shortage in Arkansas by immediately providing room for 50 more nursing students,” said UCA President Houston Davis. “Since more than 90% of our health care graduates stay in the state to practice, this is very good news for Arkansans.” 

The integrated design of the building aims to foster an interprofessional educational environment that is most conducive to replicating real-life health care scenarios. This means students will participate in clinical and simulation experiences that require collaboration with all majors within the college.

“We’re creating an environment for our students that replicates the collaborative environment they will enter as graduates,” said Jimmy Ishee, dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. “These transformative experiences prepare our students for internships, employment and ultimately, for careers providing exceptional health care.”

The first floor will house the Interprofessional Teaching Center where students will learn and work alongside each other instead of independently, creating a modern health care team.

The third floor of the building will house the Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation. The state-of-the-art simulation lab will more than double the space of the current simulation lab and provide students with carefully programmed lifelike training scenarios. The remaining two floors will contain classrooms and office space for faculty and staff.

“As one of the state’s leading providers of health care professionals, this cutting-edge facility will further enhance UCA’s role as a thought leader and innovator in meeting the professional health care needs of the state and region,” Davis said. 

The College of Health and Behavioral Sciences is the largest college at UCA, accounting for more than 34% of undergraduates and 42% of graduate students. The college has more than 1,200 affiliations and contracts with health care entities across the state, while students participate in approximately 420,000 hours of clinical, internship and practicum hours annually.

Located at Western Avenue and Bruce Street, the Integrated Health Sciences Building is scheduled to be open for the fall 2021 semester. Planning and architecture for the facility is by Taggart Architects. Nabholz Construction is the general contractor for the project. Primary funding for the project is provided through a $37.7 million bond appropriation by the UCA Board of Trustees.

Additionally, a $5 million fundraising campaign is underway for facility and equipment support. Gifts to the building project are honored through the naming of specific spaces within the facility. These named spaces will remain for the life of the building. Those interested in making a gift to the building can contact Maegan Dyson, senior director of development, at mdyson@uca.edu or (501) 499-4674.

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