The VCU School of Allied Health Professions celebrated the groundbreaking of its new, state-of-the-art building on Friday, April 28.
Our very own Harry Thalhimer, MCV Foundation board chair, emceed the event and introduced an impressive group of speakers that included Governor Terry McAuliffe, VCU President Michael Rao, Dr. Marsha Rappley, Dean Cecil Drain, Delegate S. Chris Jones and student representative J.D. Drasbek.
Students, faculty, alumni and friends of the university gathered under a tent at the construction site and cheered throughout the event. The excitement of having all nine academic units, the dean’s office and the Virginia Center on Aging under one roof was palpable. Students are currently spread across five buildings on two campuses.
“What is great about this building is that it will bring all of these healthcare professionals together,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “For those of us that are getting up in our years — it is an older retiring workforce that we have out there and we’re going to need more care. This is going to be such a great recruitment tool for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The high tech, LEED Silver-certified building will encompass 154,000 square feet on the MCV Campus at the corner of 10th and Leigh Streets. The eight levels will include an auditorium, simulated operating and patient care rooms, teaching and clinical labs, and plenty of space for students to study and collaborate. The building is scheduled for completion in fall 2019, which coincides with the school’s 50th anniversary.
Programs within the School of Allied Health Professions consistently receive top rankings, with five programs ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report and three of those programs ranked in the top five: Nurse Anesthesia (1), Health Administration (3) and Rehabilitation Counseling (4).
Harry Thalhimer thanked Dean Cecil Drain “for his relentless pursuit of this magnificent new home for the School of Allied Health Professions.” Dean Drain made it his mission to bring all of his students and faculty under one roof to foster collaboration that will enhance interdisciplinary research and education.
Part of the reason this groundbreaking event garnered such an impressive line-up of speakers from the public and private sector is because they each recognize the value this school brings, as part of VCU Health and VCU, to drive economic growth in Virginia.
Governor McAuliffe recommended and the General Assembly approved funding for the new School of Allied Health Professions building as part of a larger bond package aimed at strengthening research and workforce development in high-demand fields at Virginia’s higher education institutions.
While the outstanding support of our legislature was a critical component in getting this project off the ground, it did not cover the entire $87.3 million projected cost of the new building.
Your gift to the School of Allied Health Professions can make a difference at the school and in the community. As health sciences graduates comprise 60 percent of the healthcare workforce, an investment here is an investment in better healthcare for everyone.
There are still naming opportunities, including the overall building, lecture halls, department-specific laboratories and offices, classrooms, lounges and an outdoor courtyard. There are also opportunities to name an endowed scholarship, lectureship, professorship or chair.
Contact us to learn how you can participate in this exciting new time at the School of Allied Health Professions and pass on a legacy of excellence to the next generation of healthcare providers.