Work begins on new nursing structure
Contact: Rene Abadie
Click on thumbnail for high resolution photo
HAMMOND -- Worksite clearing has started and construction will soon begin on an addition to the Southeastern Louisiana University Kinesiology and Health Studies building that will house the university’s nursing program.
The $13 million project, which has been on the drawing board for several years now, is funded by state capital outlay monies.
The construction will add nearly 35,000 square feet of offices and classroom space to the current 55,500 square foot building. When completed in spring 2011, the School of Nursing will move into the facility making it the new home for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the School of Nursing, and the athletic training program. Currently the School of Nursing is housed in Mims Hall, a two-story facility built in 1948 as a dormitory. The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, another element of the college, will remain in its current location in Campbell Hall.
With a total cost of $13 million, the project is a significant addition to the university’s academic facilities. The contractor is D. Honore Construction, Inc. of Baton Rouge, and architects were Holly and Smith of Hammond.
“It is a long overdue and much needed project,” said President John L. Crain. “The addition has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade and has gradually moved up the state’s priority list for capital outlay projects.”
The state’s capital outlay budget is different from the general operating budget, which has seen significant cuts in the last two years due to a tightening of state revenues. Under the state capital outlay process, agencies and institutions submit proposals that undergo tight scrutiny and then are prioritized according to need. The last state-funded capital outlay construction program on Southeastern’s campus was the renovation of the Science Annex Building on the south end of the campus in 2007.
“The School of Nursing is one of Southeastern’s foremost academic programs, supplying much needed health professionals for our area,” Crain said. “The nursing shortage continues to impact the operations of area health care facilities. This program serves as an important workforce development initiative for our region and state.”
Barbara Moffett, interim dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said the two-story facility will include state-of-the-art, technology rich classrooms as well as the latest simulation laboratories to enrich nursing education.
“We’re excited about the prospect of a new facility that will enhance the teaching and learning environment for our students,” Moffett said. “Having more of the college under one roof will provide us with a more efficient operation and promote greater faculty collaboration. It also allows us to better accommodate the increased numbers of students choosing a major in kinesiology, health studies or nursing.”
In addition to the building on the Hammond campus, the School of Nursing also operates a center in Baton Rouge where many upper level students have the opportunity to attend classes. The program also offers numerous clinical opportunities for students at hospitals and health care facilities in Baton Rouge and the north shore parishes.
Established in 1963, the program has over 1,800 majors and annually graduates approximately 150 undergraduates and 15 to 20 masters level nurses in functional areas such as nurse educator, administrator and nurse practitioner.