Miami University is building a new health science facility, which will house the current Nursing and Speech Pathology/Audiology programs, as well as the inaugural Physician’s Assistant program.
The Board of Trustees (BoT) approved partial funding for the design and pre-construction phase of the building at its meeting on Sept. 19. The pre-design phase has been allocated $4.5 million.
The new building was announced spring 2019 when the project was still looking for designers and builders. Architects and designers have been hired for the project, hailing from Ohio, Indiana and Minnesota.
The BoT is estimated to approve $96 million for the entire project. David Creamer, senior vice president for finance and business services, said these estimates come from evaluating industry norms, comparing the designs to similar buildings in other locations and guessing how much the building will cost based on those comparisons.
Creamer also said that the sources for funding have not yet been finalized. The final funding plan will be submitted for approval from the BoT next year.
The Nursing program began in the fall of 2018, and as of this year, neither the Nursing nor Speech Pathology/Audiology programs have all of the necessary technology for their studies, said Robert Bell, an interim university architect and director of planning, architecture and engineering.
In addition to providing updated and new resources for the existing programs, the building will also serve the new Physician’s Assistant program. Classes for this program are expected to begin in the fall of 2022.
Once construction is complete, the Health Services Center will reside in the new building. This placement anticipates increased collaboration among the Recreation Center and the Health departments, including both research and activity-based partnership, Bell said.
“Since we are encompassing health programs, and the programs are focusing on holistic human health, we wanted to make the building a healthy building,” Bell said.
A “healthy” building would allow more natural light to flow through the building, as well as create better indoor air quality. The building would also strive to provide areas for students to de-stress, emphasizing the mental health aspect of the building. The increased collaboration among health departments and recreational activities will strive to create a “health district,” Bell said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2020 and should be completed by the summer of 2022.