The TTU Foundation, whose members serve as both fund raisers and expert advisers to the university president, has been instrumental in securing more than $4.4 million for the project so far, including $2.1 million in federal grants.
Members cite projected state and national nursing shortages as a major factor influencing the board’s decision to consider the project a priority. It’s estimated that the national shortage could reach a million nurses by 2010.
“With the possibility of such severe state and national nursing shortages, this is the sort of project that shouldn’t require a second thought about its importance. It’s definitely a priority for us,” said Judy Davis, chairperson of the TTU Foundation.
Noble Cody, a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents and a foundation member, agreed, saying, “TTU has to have that building — there’s no question about it, and we’re working hard to help the university raise the money it needs for it.”
The proposed facility will be the first specifically built to house TTU’s 24-year-old School of Nursing.
“It would become a premier part of the university, and it would serve as an even more important healthcare resource to the community and the region. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to commit now to ensure its success,” said Vice Chair Martin Medley.
Even with its severe facilities need, TTU is the prime source of nurses for the Upper Cumberland region, and about half of all registered nurses at Cookeville Regional Medical Center are graduates of the program.
“The Upper Cumberland region’s no different from the rest of the country, though. It’s going to be affected by future nursing shortages, and this project is a critical part of the solution to that problem,” said Joe Albrecht, TTU Foundation member.
University officials say they appreciate the work the foundation is doing.
“The work they’ve done has more or less kicked off this whole campaign. The university is fortunate that these board members understand the critical nature of this project,” said Tom Hamilton, associate vice president of University Development.
For more information about how to participate in the TTU nursing campaign, call University Development at 931/372-3055 or check out the “Giving to TTU” link on the university homepage at www.tntech.edu.