Ground was broken November 2 for UNC Pembroke’s Nursing and Health Professions Building.
It is the largest state-funded project in UNCP history at a cost of $29 million. With Cypress Residence Hall nearing completion, the University is working on $50 million in new construction.
When completed in January 2012, the building will house the growing and increasingly successful Nursing Department. The 87,000 sq. ft. Nursing and Health Professions building will be home to future health programs too, promised Chancellor Kyle R. Carter.
“This building is a response to a regional need for nurses,” Chancellor Carter said. “It will be home to the Nursing Department and other health professions that will follow.”
Chancellor Carter said the University is pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The chancellor also thanked many people who made the building possible, and in particular former state Senator David Weinstein, whose “dogged determination” won funding for the project.
Senator Weinstein, who served as a UNCP trustee and then 13 years in the senate, said this project was his “proudest moment” as a legislator.
“This is a proud day for me and the University,” Sen. Weinstein said. “I was fortunate to be a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee when money was available.
“This is the jewel in the crown because the need for nursing in this region is great,” he continued. “This University has a special place in my heart, and I hope the future treats it well.”
Chancellor Carter also singled out Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC) for their help. CEO Joanne Anderson spoke for the Lumberton-based medical center, which is home to the 200-plus students of UNCP’s pre-licensure program.
“My background is in nursing and my passion is nursing,” Anderson said. “Southeastern Regional Medical Center has been a proud partner with UNCP nursing, and we want to continue our relationship.
“Healthcare reform places a premium on nursing, and I am proud to be part of something that is producing those nurses,” she said.
Dr. Barbara Synowiez is chair of the Nursing Department that has two programs: a four-year pre-licensure program and an RN-to-BSN program. She commented on the future.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this day,” Dr. Synowiez said. “This is a day to celebrate the realization of a vision for the future.
“The new building will allow us to double the size of our nursing program and add a Master of Nursing program,” she continued. “It will make us competitive in recruitment of the best students available, and it will advance the practice of nursing.”
UNCP nursing is increasingly successful with 95 percent of its graduates passing the state examination (NC-LEX). Three nursing faculty members earned doctorates in 2010, beefing up the department’s credentials.
Jessica Trost, president of the Association of Nursing Students, called it an inspiring moment.
“Right now, we are all over the place, so this central location will have a great impact for students and faculty,” Trost said. “The advanced technology in this building will ease the transition to nursing practice for students.”