Trustees approve $48 million Health Professions renovation, new degree program

Riley Guerzini, Editor-in-Chief

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The university Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to begin the planning and renovation of the Health Professions building along with a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program at their meeting Nov. 7.

The $48 million renovation and expansion project will add more classrooms to the first two floors and the basement of the building while moving the Health Center and the Counseling Center to the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center, which will also be expanded with funds from the project. 

An $8 million renovation of the third floor of the Health Professions building were completed in January. The third floor formerly housed the Indiana University Medical School, which was moved to the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences in downtown Evansville in August of 2018.

The basement, which houses the Health Center, will be converted to provide more classroom space.

“When you renovate part of a building sometimes it becomes clearly obvious that you need to renovate other areas,” Vice President for Administration and Finance Steve Bridges said. “We are going to work on creating spaces similar to what we’ve been doing with our PAC project, creating more student spaces.”

Bridges said some of the funding will also go toward investing in better technology for the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

He said the university is hoping to fund some of the project with private dollars. They are looking for an additional $3 million so the project could expand to $51 million.

The $48 million in funding was approved by the state legislature last spring. 

The project will also create space for publishing services, which is currently housed in a temporary building.

The university home will be renovated using funds from the project. The university home usually houses the President of USI, but President Ron Rochon chose not to live there after his selection as USI’s fourth president in April of 2018.

The home is currently used periodically for receptions and small group gatherings.

“We want to create that to be more of a university meeting space,” Bridges said. “Being able to renovate it will allow us to use it for those types of functions.”

The Trustees also approved a new Master of Arts in Criminal Justice degree program. The Criminal Justice program has grown to be one of the largest degree programs in the College of Liberal Arts after first being offered in 2008.

The program will be offered online and will require 36 credit hours for completion.

The Department of Workforce Development for the State of Indiana projects there to be employment growth from 2016-2026 of 7.5 percent for police and sheriff’s patrol officers and 7.4 percent for probation officers.

In other business:

  • The Trustees approved candidates for degrees. Commencement is scheduled for Dec. 7 in the Screaming Eagles Arena.

 

  • Executive Director of Human Resources Andrew Lenhardt presented to the Trustees a report on insurance changes and renewals effective Jan. 1.

 

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