Valdosta State University recognized the beginning of construction on the Health Sciences and Business Administration building with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Oct. 4. The 140,000-square-foot, $32 million facility is scheduled to be completed by January 2014.
The event took place at the Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus, with President William J. McKinney presiding over the ceremony.
â€œThe Health Sciences and Business Administration building will serve as an advanced academic facility to educate Georgiaâ€™s future health care professionals,â€ McKinney said. â€œIt will also provide continuing education for existing practitionersâ€”it really becomes the cornerstone of Valdosta Stateâ€™s focus on comprehensive health professions programs.â€
The vision for the HSBA building began under the leadership of Dr. Ronald M. Zaccari, Valdosta State president from 2002- 2008, and it became part of the universityâ€™s 2004 and 2007 master plans. In the early stages, Zaccari began discussions with South Georgia Medical Center (SGMC) to develop a plan that would increase academic health care opportunities for the citizens of South Georgia and the state.
The HSBA building, located on the Rea and Lillian Steele North Campus, will house six health sciences programs: Nursing (including Dental Hygiene Program with Wiregrass Georgia Technical College), Communication Sciences and Disorders, Athletic Training, Exercise Physiology, Social Work, and Health Care Administration. The new facility will allow VSU to expand existing programs and develop new degrees to produce more health care professionals.
Randy Sauls, SGMC chief executive officer, presented Valdosta State with a check for $200,000, as part of a $1 million pledge from the Hospital Authority of Valdosta and Lowndes County.
Sauls stated that in 2008, the Hospital Authority designated funds to the HSBA, as part of a partnership between the university and hospital to expand programs in nursing and allied health sciences.
The building is being constructed by KBR Building Group and architectural design provided by Heery International and Ellis, Ricket and Associates.