Jackson State Community College held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a building that will be the permanent residence of its nursing program. This is a momentous event in the history of JSCC that has been planned now for over 15 years. Construction will also mark the beginning of a visible transformation of the campus.
A number of individuals were on hand to commemorate the event. Jackson State officials, employees and representatives from Tennessee Board of Regents, West Tennessee Healthcare, local and state governments and the Jackson Chamber gathered at the construction site to commemorate this event. Representatives from TLM Architects and Hoar Construction were also in attendance.
Dr. Bruce Blanding, JSCC President, recognized Mr. Bobby Arnold of West Tennessee Healthcare and their contribution to the construction of the new building. ‘Historically, there is a close tie between our two institutions,’ Blanding mentioned. It was also noted that TBR required a 15 percent funding match for the construction of the facility. ‘(WTH) donated those funds without hesitation and enabled the college to proceed with the project,’ Blanding stated.
The new facility has been designed specifically for the nursing program. Over the years, the program has been moved to various locations on campus. The program currently resides in the McWherter Center. The new facility will secure a permanent home for the program.
When asked about what the new facility means to her, Dr. Leslie West-Sands, Dean & Program Director of Nursing, said, ‘I am thrilled to see this project become a reality for our students. The students and faculty look forward to using the new instructional spaces and technologies to enhance graduate clinical decision making skills and workplace success.’
The new building will have in excess of 35,000 square feet that will include classrooms, labs, conference halls and spacious common areas. The architecture of the new facility will be markedly changed from the structures first constructed in the 1960s.
The basic footprint of Jackson State has remained relatively unchanged since it was first established. There have been expansions such as the McWherter Center in the 1990s that have changed the landscape and the way the college serves its students, but the core campus is still very recognizable to anyone who has ever gone to school there.
According to Dr. Blanding, the addition of this building and the subsequent Allied Health Building will create a second, adjoining quadrangle on campus and make a ‘more pedestrian-friendly, park-like setting.’
The project is slated to begin construction immediately following the groundbreaking ceremony and should be completed in approximately 12 months. The nursing program should occupy the new building by fall semester 2015.