Construction plans for new nursing building begin

by Associate News Editor Ciera Golliver

Contractors expect to begin breaking ground at the old Floyd Science Building for the new home of the Anderson College of Nursing Jan. 24 pending approval from the Alabama Building Commission.

Assistant Vice President of Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney said construction will block off Circular Road for short periods of time, but the road should remain open for the duration of the project.

The estimated cost for the project is anywhere from $12 – 15 million, but is unknown until the state approves the plans for the building, said Chief Financial Officer Evan Thornton said.

Most of the funding for the nursing building came from private donors with a passion for healthcare, including the Anderson and Harrison families, said College Development Gift Officer Barbie Terry.

The remainder of the money came from state help, Thornton said.

“I think a new building will bring new life (to the program),” Terry said.

The new nursing building will include 10 study rooms, eight simulation rooms to emulate a hospital setting, a basic skills lab with 16 hospital beds, two computer labs and four classrooms that can each hold 72 students, Terry said.

The department also added a program for geriatric care because of the expansion, Terry said.

Hugo Dante, architect for The Commons, is also the architect for the nursing building. UNA made sure the building was designed to compliment campus’ current architecture, Terry said.

“It will be designed differently than Floyd, but it is still in the original footprint,” Terry said. “We believe (the nursing building) will really aid in enhancing campus.”

Junior nursing student Kari Dennis said she is sad she will not have the opportunity to study in the new nursing building, but the program needs an expansion.

“The nursing program is growing, and we need more space to work from,” Dennis said. “We don’t have enough rooms for lecture, we only have three labs for the entire program and our faculty deserve bigger offices.”

Sophomore nursing student Brittany Cagle said she is thankful for everyone who contributed to making the new building possible.

“I am grateful for the tremendous efforts of the university, faculty and staff,” Cagle said. “I’m looking forward to using this amazing facility.”

Campus is already starting to prepare for the building, Gautney said. The Department of Human Environmental Science finished moving out of Floyd at the beginning of the year.

Gautney said workers began removing asbestos tiles from Floyd to prepare for demolition when school started back.

The nursing building is expected to open fall 2018.