Indiana State University
The largest state-funded project in Indiana State University’s history was unveiled to the public with the ribbon cutting of expanded the Health and Human Services facility on Dec. 15.
The ceremony in the North Gym addition was followed by tours of the facility for students, employees and the community to get a glimpse into Phase I of this $64 million, state-funded project.
The building will be ready for occupancy later this spring, followed by the start of the project’s second phase, which will include renovation of classrooms and labs in the existing Arena building that was constructed in the 1960s. Phase II of the project is expected to be completed in spring 2019.
“It is exciting to be here today to celebrate the largest capital project in our university’s history,” said Indiana State President Dan Bradley. “This new facility will provide high-tech labs and facilities to support the fast-growing College of Health and Human Services, ISU’s second largest college which services 2,700 undergraduates and nearly 750 graduate students. The faculty in the College of Health and Human Services has worked diligently to develop new degree programs that are helping address the state’s critical shortage of health care professionals.”
Bradley noted the collaborative environment the facility will create for training future health care providers from different fields to work alongside each another.
“Inter-professional education is key to improvements in health care, and we truly are at the forefront of that at Indiana State,” he said. “In addition to the impact the facility will have on our students and local and state workforce, it will dramatically transform the appearance of our campus from Third Street and create a new main entrance to Indiana State.”
Construction on the facility project began in July 2016 and includes an 87,000-square-foot expansion to house new academic programs. Major upgrades will improve temperature control and air quality in the building as well as technology. Interior space will be reconfigured to enable academic programs to function more efficiently.
“You here at Indiana State University have achieved great success and prove to the rest of the state that they, too, can achieve,” said Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “The College of Health and Human Services is a key to Indiana State University’s historic enrollment growth, and it has also been important to our state by fueling the health care workforce and providing access to health care in our state.”
It doesn’t seem all that long ago, though, supporters of Indiana State were gathering to celebrate the groundbreaking in 2016.
“We broke ground that morning as part of a kickoff to celebrate this history achievement,” said Greg Goode, Indiana State’sexecutive director for governmental relations. “At $64 million, no other project … has ever come as close to the magnitude of this type of investment. It is an investment in public higher education. It is an investment in health and wellness. An investment in this campus, in this county and in this community.”
Goode acknowledged that “designing a facility that will meet the needs of a 21st century College of Health and Human Services” was a process that could not have been accomplished without strong advocates. Goode thanked the Indiana State Board of Trustees; state Reps. Bob Heaton, Clyde Kersey and Alan Morrison; Indiana Commission for Higher Education; Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett; county council; the ISU Foundation and leaders with the ISU Alumni Association.
“At each step of the way, Dr. Dan Bradley articulated the vision for this facility,” Goode said. “He did so by also leveraging the very real confidence that Indiana State University has earned in this state through our commitment to enrollment growth and sound fiscal management practices.”
Indiana State aims to steer its approximately 3,400 students enrolled in the College of Health and Human Services into higher paying, high-demand health care careers with the facility, which is fitted with smart classrooms, new labs and the latest technology to facilitate learning and collaboration among disciplines needed throughout the state.
The need for such a facility was articulated Friday by College of Health and Human Services Dean Caroline Mallory. She cited data from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that estimates the state annually has openings for 1,200 community and social service professionals, 600 openings for childcare workers and more than 3,000 jobs for nurses, registered nurses, LPNs, nurse practitioner, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers.
“This new building … is concrete evidence in the investment of the state of Indiana in the health, health and wellness and social services workforce needs of Indiana,” Mallory said. “The College of Health and Human Services is where students come to become professionals, where the faculty teaching scholarship and career-readiness, and where the public can be assured that we are using their resources to improve the quality of life for all of Indiana. Thank you to everyone who has given large and small to make this project happen. This building will produce a higher quality learning environment for our students.”
Senior health science major Shan Antony reminded the audience that pride in curriculum, faculty and staff are all integral pieces that sustain the integrity of the school, “one cannot discount the value of a sound, stimulating learning environment.” He likened the building to a college student wearing a suit — people pause and comment on the student’s attire, and the student feels more pride wearing it.
“This (facility) is a staple that moves every aspiring nurse, dietitian and health administrator to be more. To be the very best they can be,” he said. “They will see these new walls and the advanced technology in the building and unknowingly attribute value to their education, their career choice and, ultimately, their lives.”
As a physician by training, this project holds extra meaning for U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Indiana, who represents the 8th district.
“We have reached a critical shortage in the health care workforce, both in Indiana and in our nation. This shortage greatly impacts access to quality, affordable health care for all of our citizens. We must do all we can to attract and incentivize students in medical fields,” he said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a catalyst of learning for the next generation of athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, health educators and all of those willing to dedicate their lives to helping others.”
Indiana State also had a strong advocate in the state Senate with Sen. Jon Ford.
“When I first announced that I was running for the Senate … my No. 1 goal was and is to be an aggressive advocate for bold ideas and initiatives to make this part of the state more competitive,” Ford said. “No one can say in Terre Haute that no one in Indianapolis pays attention to this part of the state. This $64 million state gift is an investment in this university and this community.”