Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced the release of $10,537,000 in planning funds to create preliminary designs for a Health Science Building on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus.
Pritzker made the announcement in the Morris University Center’s Meridian Ballroom.
The complex will include approximately 221,000 square feet. The project’s total cost is approximately $105 million. It would be the largest building on the SIUE campus.
With this investment, we’re giving SIUE’s current and future students a world class education in a world class facility, and we’re providing employers with world class talent from one of our state’s greatest institutions,” Pritzker said. “The future of our state is in education. The choices that we make about our schools now will determine the quality of our future.”
SIUE operates a School of Pharmacy (SOP), a School of Nursing (SON), a School of Dental Medicine (SDM) in Alton, and related health sciences programs in various disciplines to serve central and southern Illinois. Currently, the SOP is primarily located in three buildings in University Park, while the SON is housed in Alumni Hall within the campus core. The SDM will remain in Alton.
The University has seen broad expansion of the health sciences program in the Department of Applied Health, including exercise science, kinesiology, nutrition and dietetics, public health, and speech-language pathology and audiology. Additional programs in education, psychology and social work throughout the University support integrative learning opportunities for health services professionals on the core campus.
“This new Health Science Building is an incredibly exciting step forward, and will allow SIUE and the SIU System to expand its leadership in health science education in southern Illinois and beyond,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “Specifically, the additional space will facilitate more simulation training, research, and allow growth in programs within nursing, pharmacy and related health science areas. In short, it will improve the overall health of citizens throughout our area. We are extremely grateful to the governor’s office and the Illinois legislature for supporting higher education and health science education in Illinois through this project.”
“A Health Sciences Complex has been a long-term plan and dream for many of our faculty,” said Denise Cobb, PhD, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Before SIUE experienced significant expansion in the health sciences, our faculty and administrators envisioned a future building that could enrich our programs, create synergies in the health sciences, and expand our capacity to serve our students and the needs of our region. Our nursing and pharmacy programs have thrived and grown since those initial conversations. Their students’ and alumni’s impact on the region continue to be significant.
“Since those initial planning efforts, we have also seen significant growth in our health sciences enrollment and expansion in our programming. Our health sciences programs are exemplary, and this new facility will allow these programs to flourish and enhance their current capabilities. We are thrilled to be able to improve and support interdisciplinary and interprofessional educational endeavors. It is an incredible opportunity to enhance academic quality, and support current and future programs that will serve the health and well-being of our state and region.”
Renovations are expected for the existing SOP buildings and the surrounding proposed site in University Park, such as parking lot design and reconfiguration, and sidewalks, pathways and roadway improvements. The HSB will also include considerations for seismic loads and must achieve LEED silver.
The HSB will provide modern classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, faculty offices, administrative spaces, and student resource and study spaces. It would also increase SON student capacity and increase the size of the SON Simulation Laboratory.
Jessica Hammel, a senior nursing student from Carlyle, expressed her gratitude to the governor. “This new building will provide SIUE nursing, pharmacy, and applied health students the opportunity to learn professional skills in an innovative state-of-the-art simulation laboratory learning center, to engage in interprofessional education, and to participate in biomedical and clinical research, all with the goal of enhancing collaboration among health professions for improved healthcare delivery throughout the state of Illinois and the region,” she said.
“Students from the southern Illinois region and beyond will be eager to attend school at SIUE in a new, modern facility,” Hammel added. “Specifically, the goal of attracting more SIUE nursing students to address the shortage of RNs and advanced practice providers in the rural southern Illinois region will be realized.”
Vice Chancellor for Administration Rich Walker said traditional SIUE design elements will be considered for the HSB design. “Red brick towers, glass curtain walls, and tan colored bands reflect the existing campus design theme,” Walker said. “We expect to begin the one-year design process as early as this summer, followed by a two-year construction schedule.”
The Illinois Capital Development Board will oversee the project’s design and construction in accordance with protocol for state-appropriated capital projects.
PHOTO: The governor announces the release of funds during a visit to the SIUE campus on Thursday. SIUE photo.