NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University reached a major milestone recently when it dedicated its new four-story 102,000 square-foot ultramodern Health Sciences Building, the first state-funded building on the campus in more than 25 years.
With the latest technology, the $38.8 million facility features simulation labs with mannequins that react like people, as well as motion science labs that can serve as rehab clinics. Disciplines in physical/occupational therapy, health information management, nursing, and cardiorespiratory care are all housed in the new building.
“We are so excited. This is a new day in the history of TSU, and a major milestone for our university,” said President Glenda Glover, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building on June 17. Several state and local officials, as well as senior TSU administrators, faculty, staff and students attended the ceremony. Officials included some members of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Board of Regents, The TSU Board of Trustees, and the Tennessee General Assembly.
“This state-of-the-art facility will enhance student learning in health sciences as TSU continues to fill the gap for healthcare professionals,” Glover said. “It will help fill the demand by training students in innovation and engagement. We thank each of you for coming out today. We thank representative of THEC, the TBR, TSU Board of Trustees, and Rep. (Harold) Love, who fought hard to get us the funding for this building.”
Sara Henderson, a senior cardiorespiratory care major, said “everything in this building is hospital-grade.”
“This new building is very innovative, I am really enjoying it,” said Henderson, of Memphis, Tennessee, who is among the first students already taking classes in the new facility. “In here we have the right resources to sharpen our skills and be prepared to go into the hospitals upon graduation. We have areas here where we can actually carry out functions like those in hospitals.”
Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, oversaw the new building project from design to construction. He said to ensure that the project had the best possible outcome to meet students’ learning needs, there was a lot of collaboration and discussion with stakeholders.
“We allowed faculty input and went to other facilities around the state and saw what they had,” Johnson said. “We consulted with experts and this is what we came up with that best prepares our students to lead. This is one of the most high-tech facilities that we have on campus, and this dedication is an opportunity for the university to showcase just one of the many things they are doing in the production of graduates who are going to contribute to health and wellness.”
With the first historically black institution to have a student-run PT/OT therapy clinic, TSU’s health sciences program also includes disciplines in speech pathology and audiology, as well as a dental hygiene clinic that offers low-cost to no-cost services to the community and staff. The Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Dental Hygiene programs are housed in different buildings on campus.
Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a staunch TSU supporter, who earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the institution, was among those who fought tirelessly in the General Assembly for money to fund the new building before it was approved in state budget under former Gov. Bill Haslam. Love said alumni and former students returning to the campus will be proud to see the new edifice.
“Having walked on this campus many times as a student and former student to see this new building on TSU’s campus is very exciting,” he said. “We are talking about preparing students to be able to go out and transform our society and make it a better place, but also to be able to prepare students with the skills and technical know-how to be able to compete in the global market place.”
Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences, described the new building as a “vehicle” to do collaborative practices, community service, and interdisciplinary teaching.
“These are all parts of our vision that I think will be best realized when we have a facility such as this that helps provide the environment for the university’s ‘think, work, serve’ mission to be accomplished,” Barredo said. “As healthcare providers, service is integral and we owe it to the community to provide them the very best.”
Dr. Malia R. Jackson, an assistant professor, teaches occupational therapy. She said the innovation and real-world setup in the new building are very helpful for students.
“I think this is an amazing environment, especially for our students with regards to the different technologies that are in the classrooms,” Jackson said. “The way the classrooms are set up, it is very similar to what they will experience in the real world as they transition from the classroom to field work.”
Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Dr. Deborah A. Cole, TSU alum and the newly elected chair of the TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
TSU officials say the new Health Sciences Building is just one of many ongoing and upcoming construction projects that are aimed to enhance students’ living and learning. A 700-bed residence hall estimated at $75.2 million, now under construction, is expected to be completed in early 2022.
From left: Dr. Ronald Barredo, Dean of the College of Health Sciences; Douglas Allen, Vice President of Business and Finance; Van Pinnock, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; President Glover; Dr. Deborah A. Cole, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (Photo by Andre Bean)
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and eight doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.