Auburn Board of Trustees approves projects for new Health Sciences Sector

Published: November 20, 2015
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The Auburn University Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Friday approved the construction of the first two buildings in the university’s new Health Sciences Sector.

The area at the corner of Lem Morrison Drive and South Donahue Drive is being deemed as such because it will house a new building for the School of Nursing and a new pharmaceutical research building for the Harrison School of Pharmacy. Both facilities are deliberately being located near the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine to bolster interdisciplinary collaborations.

Nursing’s new building will include 89,000 square feet of classroom, simulation labs, clinical and departmental space on three floors. The board previously agreed to retain Stacy Norman Architects of Auburn and Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, Maryland, as architects and Hoar Program Management serving as construction management.

The projected cost of $29 million will be covered with gifts and university general funds. Construction should begin in January and be complete by August 2017.

The new pharmaceutical research building will have 37,000 square feet for pharmaceutical and interdisciplinary research labs and support space over three floors. The board previously agreed to use Infinity Architecture of Montgomery as architects. The $16.6 million cost will be covered with reserve fund from the pharmacy school.

LBYD Inc., of Birmingham will begin work in January to provide the infrastructure, including water, power, sewer and information/communication technologies, needed to support the new buildings. The $6 million project will be paid for by university general funds and is expected to be complete in August.

In other action, the board approved the establishment of Auburn’s first fully online degree program, an RN to BSN program in the School of Nursing.

The offering would allow registered nurses, or RNs, with associate degrees to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, through online instruction. Only about 40 percent of current RNs have a BSN, but the demand for professionals with this credential is expected to rise sharply in the coming years.

Additionally, the board approved:

  • A $2.2 million project to build out 7,200 square feet of space in the Auburn Arena to accommodate locker rooms, team meeting rooms, offices and other support spaces for the women’s volleyball team
  • A $1.25 million project to construct the Auburn Memorial, an area on campus meant to honor and recognize Auburn students, faculty, staff, alumni and veterans
  • A $4.5 million project to replace a storm drain and sewer line underneath the north end zone of Jordan-Hare Stadium
  • Hiring Seay Seay & Litchfield of Montgomery as project architects to construct a new Auxiliary Services maintenance building, as well as a new Risk Management and Safety building, both in the Facilities Management complex on West Samford Avenue
  • Hiring Holcombe Norton Partners of Birmingham as the project architects to improve the traffic on Mell Street, West Samford Avenue and Thach Avenue
  • The project to construct two multipurpose poultry houses and an administrative building at the North Auburn campus for poultry research and hire Ghafari Associates of Birmingham as project architect
  • The initiation of a project to create an Interdisciplinary Science Building for Biological Sciences and Geosciences departments in the College of Sciences and Mathematics resulting from the plan to demolish Funchess Hall
  • The initiation of a project to create an Agricultural Sciences Research building for Crop Soil and Environmental Sciences, Entomology and Plant Pathology, and Horticulture departments in the College of Agriculture resulting from the plan to demolish Funchess Hall
  • Establishment of a new Bachelor of Science in Applied Biotechnology in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture; Auburn becomes the first university in Alabama to offer an undergraduate degree in Applied Biotechnology
  • Establishment of an online Bachelor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering in the College of Engineering offered in concentrated eight-week terms for students with some prior college credits but no degree
  • Add Collaborative Teacher Special Education as an option for the current Educational Specialist degree program in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling in the College of Education
  • Amend the Board of Trustees’ by-laws to update Audit Committee Charter to reflect name change, to Audit and Compliance Committee, and expansion of duties related to compliance

For Auburn University Montgomery, the board agreed to:

  • Hire Williams Blackstock Architects of Birmingham as project architect for a new Admissions and Alumni Center
  • Establish a Master in Science in Applied Economics, a Bachelor of Science Business Administration in Entrepreneurship, as well as graduate certificates in Technology Leadership and in Online Teaching and Learning 
  • Award a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology/Sport Leadership posthumously to Carlton Wade Corbett, who died unexpectedly in May.