UCA celebrates grand opening of Integrated Health Sciences Building

The University of Central Arkansas hosted the grand opening celebration for its new Integrated Health Sciences Building on Friday, Aug. 13 on the UCA campus.

The cutting-edge, 80,000-square-foot facility offers expanded educational opportunities for the university’s health care students and faculty in the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

The new facility is home to the School of Nursing, the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, an expanded Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation, and an interprofessional teaching center – the first of its kind in the region.

During the event, UCA President Houston Davis announced the naming of the interprofessional teaching center in partnership with the Conway Regional Health System. The announcement represents the system’s continued support of UCA’s innovation in health education programs.

“The Conway Regional Health System has long been a health care and wellness champion for our communities and a dedicated health care partner with UCA,” said Davis. “We are proud of this partnership and thankful for their legacy of support.”

The teaching center fosters collaborative educational experiences where students will learn and work alongside each other instead of independently, creating a modern health care team. These experiences prepare students for internships, employment and ultimately, for careers as health care professionals.

“Health care – at its core – is a team sport, and we see what this facility seeks to accomplish. Our drive to improving community health is an innovative and exciting realization of this collaboration,” said Matt Troup, president and CEO of Conway Regional Health System. “We are inspired by this bold project and what we can do together.”

The new IHSB allows for the expansion of the university’s health care programs’ size, reach and impact on the state’s health care resources. This impact will be immediately realized through the addition of 50 more nursing students during a national nursing shortage. With more than 90% of UCA’s health care graduates remaining in the state, Arkansans will reap substantial health benefits.

Wellness is one of the pillars of the university’s $100 million fundraising campaign, UCA Now: Impact Arkansas and Beyond. The campaign seeks to transform our university and our communities – one student at a time.

Currently, a $5 million fundraising campaign is underway for the new IHSB facility and for equipment support. The building campaign has raised $4.8 million for the project to date.

This includes a $1 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life through reinvesting in the communities where the Ash Grove Cement Company has historically operated. The Sunderland Foundation focuses on supporting construction projects, with a passion for health care and education.

“We are extremely grateful to the Sunderland Foundation. Their generosity speaks to the reputation of our faculty and the impact of our health care graduates,” Davis said. “What a resounding vote of confidence.”

Gifts to the building project are honored through the naming of specific spaces within the facility. These named spaces will remain for the life of the building. Those interested in making a gift to the building can contact Maegan Dyson, assistant vice president of development, at mdyson@uca.edu or (501) 499-4674.

Planning and architecture for the facility is by Taggart Architects. Nabholz Construction is the general contractor for the project. Primary funding for the project is provided through a $37.7 million bond appropriation by the UCA Board of Trustees.

About the UCA College of Health and Behavioral Sciences:
The mission of the UCA College of Health and Behavioral Sciences is to enhance the health and well-being of the public through the preparation of professionals, the development and advancement of knowledge, and service to its constituencies. The college includes the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Exercise and Sport Science, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health Sciences, Military Science and Leadership, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Psychology and Counseling and the School of Nursing. 

The College of Health and Behavioral Sciences is the largest college at UCA and one of the state’s primary sources of health care professionals. The college has more than 1,200 affiliations and contracts with health care entities across the state, while students participate in approximately 420,000 hours of clinical, internship and practicum hours annually.