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Belmont Tops Out New Health Science Building, Home for Schools of Pharmacy and Physical Therapy

Ceremony celebrates completion of $30 million building’s frame
toppingout.jpgNearly one year after breaking ground, Belmont University today celebrated the “topping out” its new $30 million health sciences building, which will serve as the future home for the School of Pharmacy, a Belmont program which welcomed its second class this fall. The building, which has an anticipated completion date of June 2010, will also house the School of Physical Therapy and will include expansion space for the Schools of Nursing and Occupational Therapy as well as the Social Work and Psychology programs. (Click here to view a photo of gallery of today’s event.)
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “In addition to providing a time to celebrate and thank all the workers behind this immense project, a topping out is also a time to look forward to when this structure is complete. This building will be a model, 21st century academic facility, providing a venue where our students and faculty resources can intersect in service to help meet the medical needs of our community and our world.”
CampusPharmacy102009.jpgDesigned by Earl Swensson Associates with construction by R.C. Mathews, the 90,000-square-foot building will continue the innovation for which Belmont University has become known, containing top-notch laboratories. The facility will emphasize integrated, “hands on” experiential learning components including a licensed, state-of-the-art campus pharmacy which will provide services to students, faculty and staff while also serving as a training site for student pharmacists. Of special note are the simulation labs, where students and community clinicians can practice skills either on actors who simulate patients or on high tech manikins; this simulation suite is interdisciplinary, and programs will be encouraged to work in simulated scenarios that involve several health disciplines. In addition, faculty will have sophisticated research labs set aside for research studies, and students will be able to assist in these studies.
Dr. Jack Williams, dean of Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing, said, “Together with the Gordon E. Inman Center, this new structure will unite Belmont’s health science studies in one strategic location on campus. By completing and enhancing our health sciences complex, the university is providing inter-professional education opportunities for all of our health science students and preparing them to be both competent and compassionate practitioners.”

In addition to the educational influence, the building’s innovations also serve to complement Belmont’s efforts toward environmental sustainability. For starters, the building’s four-level underground parking garage reduces the structural footprint, saving four acres of land that would have been lost to surface parking. The building’s total footprint, including the garage, is less than an acre. Another significant “green” feature is the 20,000 gallon water storage tank, which will have the ability to capture excess ground and storm water that would otherwise be pumped into the storm system. The collected water will be recycled and used to irrigate the campus. The new building will also feature a green roof which at this time is planned to mimic a cedar glade with a wide variety of plant life.
Belmont’s School of Pharmacy, which will graduate its first class in spring 2012, will help alleviate the significant shortfall of qualified pharmacists needed both in the state and country at large. The School of Pharmacy seeks to become a nationally-recognized practice and leadership center with a four-pillared approach that will afford students additional focus areas of management, informatics, pharmacotherapy or missions.
State-of-the-art facilities, challenging medical-model curriculum and varied clinical education sites all contribute to making Belmont’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) one of the premier programs in the country. The PT curriculum emphasizes both research and business, and students are given opportunities to practice at clinical sites locally and internationally. The School of Physical Therapy is currently located on the campus’ south side, near the corner of Delmar and 15th Avenues. Moving to the new building in 2010 will augment the School’s connection with Belmont’s other health programs.
The Gordon E. Inman Center, currently the main health sciences building on Belmont’s campus, officially opened at Belmont in June 2006 after 20 months of construction. The $22.5 million facility now houses Belmont’s nursing, social work and occupational therapy programs as well as several general education classes and community conference space. Together with the Inman Center, this new structure will provide a consolidation of all the university’s health science studies—pharmacy, nursing, social work, occupational therapy and physical therapy—on the campus’s northeast corner.

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