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College of Nursing breaks ground for new building

USF’s Health Sciences Center is getting a facelift, and it starts with the College of Nursing. The new building project will integrate the college with the College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

Phase one of the project began construction Tuesday with a groundbreaking ceremony. Several members of the Health Science Center, along with USF President Judy Genshaft, Board of Trustees Chairman Dick Beard and State Representative Sandra Murman, helped pitch in.

The addition will add 32,000 square feet to the building for a 77,000 square feet, said Robert Daugherty, dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for Health Sciences. Daugherty added that the expansion should be completed by December 2004, and the renovation of the existing College of Nursing building should be completed by August 2005.

The $14-million construction is funded in part by Florida PECO funds, which are set aside for the construction of new building projects. The PECO funds are a $1.5-million gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and a private gift from the George and Marian Miller family.

“The Center for Advanced Nursing Education, sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, will create an environment that encourages dialogue between students and faculty,” said Patricia Burns, dean of the College of Nursing. “We will also have the Center for Virtual Learning, sponsored by the George and Marian Miller family which will provide the latest in technology for students to learn basic nursing skills to help our nurses become leaders in the ever-changing complex environment.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Cyrus Jollivette, vice president of public affairs for Blue Cross and Blue Shield, presented a $750,000 corporate gift check and announced that Florida matched their gift, which totaled $1.5 million dollars for the project.

The new building will be three stories, and the main entrance, called the Galleria, will be located off West Holly Drive and will face the existing parking lot, said Sandra Soto, a nursing student.

Albert Alfonso, of Alfonso Architecture, has already come up with a design for the new building. Alfonso’s father helped design the Tampa International Airport, Daugherty said.

The Galleria will be located on the first floor and lead to a hallway with a wall of windows, said nursing student Adicia Bathon.

Daugherty said the building project has two design visions: “Inspire a new learning culture that supports the journey through discovery and practice” and “(By) changing the learning journey for our students (we) will change the medical journey for our patients.”Daugherty added that the project would be able to enhance the Health Sciences Center at USF.

“We believe the way we treat our students is how they will treat their patients,” Daugherty said. “The last three years have been a journey trying to bring the College of Nursing, the College of Medicine and the College of Public Health together for an integrated learning style.”