Indiana Wesleyan University will begin construction immediately on a $42.8 million project that would more than double the space available to nursing and new graduate health sciences programs.
The largest component of the project would be a five-story, 111,250-square-foot building that would connect to the current Burns Hall of Science and Nursing by a three-story atrium.
The total project would be the largest in size and the most costly in IWU history. Construction is expected to take two years to complete.
The new facility will be the centerpiece of a health sciences initiative that was approved by the IWU Board of Trustees in April 2011. The Trustees voted today at their annual spring meeting to begin construction immediately.
The health sciences initiative, which could take a decade to complete, would include several new graduate degrees, including a doctor of nursing practice approved by the Board today.
The new building would be located on the site of the former College Wesleyan Church. Some infrastructure work, primarily installing underground utilities, has been done.
Burns Hall had about 38,000 square feet of floor space when it was built in 1969. A major expansion and renovation completed in 2000 more than doubled the size of the building.
IWU administrators said the need for space illustrates the growth in not just the health sciences, but in science and nursing programs in general.
IWU President Henry Smith has estimated that the new building and Phase I graduate programs could produce a stable student body of 300 graduate health professionals and a significant lift in undergraduate enrollment.