Projected timeline set for TTU's School of Nursing and Health Services building

This Thanksgiving season, Tennessee Tech University representatives are grateful for the construction activity just south of the campus’ Main Quad that marks the future location of the new School of Nursing and Health Services building.

“Several milestones will mark the project’s progress during the 16-month construction time frame,” said Glenn Binkley, assistant director of Facilities and Business Services at TTU.

Groundbreaking and construction began this fall for the $17.4 million facility — the first to be built specifically for TTU’s nursing program — and it’s expected to take about two years, with the projected grand opening set for January 2008.

The university has created a website with photos of the building process, and soon a web cam will be added, showing up-to-the-minute construction progress. To see the site, log on to www.tntech.edu/nursing/building.

Right now, footings are being poured in the main building and auditorium areas. By next month, solid concrete slabs will be poured in basement areas, and blocks will begin to be laid on the upper levels where the footings have begun.

“Sometime during December or January, 7th Street will be closed to allow for chilled water lines and electric lines to be run under the street to the new facility,” Binkley said.

The road closure shouldn’t last more than a couple of weeks, and it’s expected to be the only time the construction will interfere with traffic flow.

“Before the end of winter, we should see the walls begin to form,” Binkley said. “Structural steel beams and load-bearing walls will go up sometime this winter.”

By spring 2007, the roof will go on and the building is projected to be “in the dry,” meaning that the weather by that point will no longer affect the construction progress.

The substantial signs of construction should be completed by next Thanksgiving, with furnishing, decorating and other details being finalized during December 2007 and January 2008.

The architectural team for TTU’s new School of Nursing and Health Services is a joint venture of Bauer-Askew Architects of Nashville and Upland Design of Crossville. The general contractor is Hardaway Construction of Nashville.

One of the most immediate advantages provided by the new facility will be the increased enrollment in TTU’s nursing program.

“With the opening of the new School of Nursing and Health Services building, we expect to double the enrollment of upper-division pre-licensure students,” said Sheila Green, director of nursing undergraduate studies and interim dean of the School of Nursing. “The effects of this enrollment increase should begin to impact workforce needs by December 2008.”

Administrators say they also expect to enhance cooperative programs with Cookeville Regional Medical Center to maximize the use of patient simulators for the continuing education needs of all health care providers.

The facility will allow TTU to become a site for community medical and nursing continuing education programs on a nationally sponsored level — a need currently only met in Nashville and Knoxville.

“Our relationships with community colleges through our online RN to BSN programs will be enhanced, helping more associate-degreed nurses continue their education to become bachelor’s-level providers,” Green said. “Access to the master’s of science in nursing offered through the cooperative program is also expected to increase.”

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