New Texas Facility Aims to Ease Nurse Shortage
(01/18/2012)

HOUSTON — Construction is under way on a new $15 million nursing school facility at Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center in Abilene, Texas, that could address the state’s increasing shortage of nurses.

The project is a partnership between the university system and Hendrick Health System a health service network serving Abilene and Midwestern Texas.

The university system previously partnered with Hendrick in 2008 to establish a web-based nursing program in Abilene and a traditional Bachelor of Science program in May 2009.

The Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies expects a shortage of 71,000 nurses by 2020 and university officials said they hope the new facility will help offset the nurse shortage within the state.

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The new Texas Tech School of Nursing facility in Abilene will accommodate 160 to 200 full-time students. Funding came entirely from corporate and community donations for the nearly 43,000-square-foot project, designed by Abilene, Texas-based Tittle Luther Partnership with general contracting by Hoar Construction, based in Birmingham, Ala.

The design and contracting team is also currently working on the $86 million expansion of the Hendrick Medical Center completed earlier in January.

The two-story nursing school will include general classrooms and simulation labs, and sit adjacent to the School of Pharmacy with a loggia and tower to connect the two. The project also includes a new surface parking lot and site infrastructure for future campus expansion.

“The really exciting thing about the new School of Nursing project is the way several public and private entities are coming together to solve a critical community issue,” said Brian Cook, vice president of the Texas division for Hoar Construction. “This project is the true definition of partnering, where each participant brings their respective expertise, united under a common goal.”

Tim Lancaster, president and CEO of Hendrick Medical Center, said the community recognizes that quality healthcare is contingent upon quality education and training for future nurses.

“Our partnership with Texas Tech University has been instrumental in attracting some of the best nursing candidates in the field, and hopefully keeping them in Abilene,” Lancaster said.

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