TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Dignitaries, donors and guests gathered Thursday at the largest funded — and recently completed — project in Indiana State University’s history to recognize donors who are further enhancing the facility.
President Deborah Curtis thanked state and local officials for their support of the project during a dedication ceremony for phase two of the College of Health and Human Services Building.
“Indiana State University is bolstering the Indiana health care workforce and increasing access to health care for our fellow citizens — especially those who live in rural areas,” Curtis said. “This is so important for a state that, unfortunately, has a lot of work to do on infant mortality, diabetes, smoking and obesity. Our graduates will be on the front lines of helping Indiana get healthier.”
The university broke ground on the $64 million two-phase project in July 2016. The first phase was completed in spring 2018, with the renovation of classrooms and labs in the 1960s-era Arena building wrapping up the facility’s second phase this year.
State Rep. Bob Heaton (R-Terre Haute), who has experienced a hip replacement and a couple of knee replacements in recent years, described it as “money well-spent.”
“The General Assembly believes in ISU and their mission. I know no one here takes that for granted,” Heaton said. “I’m very thankful for this project, because we need more health care professionals in Indiana, as well as here in the Wabash Valley. I know firsthand how important it is to have physical therapists there at your side getting you back on the go.”
The renovation and 87,000-square-foot expansion project remedied critical need for classrooms and laboratories — equipped with the latest technology — to support the rapid growth the College of Health and Human Services has experienced in recent years. It now educates more than 3,000 students and employs more than 150 faculty and staff.
College of Health and Human Services Dean Caroline Mallory echoed Curtis’ thanks to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and state legislators for their commitment to the institution.
“This college is where students become professionals, where faculty teaching and scholarship support students’ career readiness and where the public can be assured that we are stewarding resources to improve the quality of life for all of Indiana,” Mallory said.
“From laboratories designed to simulate the workplace, to seminar and huddle spaces that promote collaboration between students and faculty, to spaces that inspire a greater sense of wellbeing, this facility is designed to facilitate our mission to graduate skilled professionals who are prepared to make a difference in their community.”
Sharisse Smith of Terre Haute is one of those soon-to-be professionals. She’s a senior applied health sciences major with a double minor in business administration and African American studies.
“Being in this building every day helps me to stay engaged with not only my classmates, but also form relationships with the professors that pour knowledge and support into us every single day,” Smith said. “When I leave ISU, I hope to use all the skills I learned to reach my dreams — to complete medical school and become a servant to the public.”
The vision for the facility dates back to 2013. As Indiana State added and expanded degree programs to address gaps in health professions, classes were scattered across campus, making it difficult for inter-professional collaborations to be formed and sustained, Curtis noted.
“With the completion of phase two of the project, the programs are now under one roof and in a state-of-the-art facility that will inspire the people we need to be leaders in health and wellness,” she said.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development estimates the state will annually have openings for 1,200 social workers, health educators and counselors, more than 600 openings for child care professionals and more than 3,000 openings registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists.
“If you want an incredibly fulfilling career where you are making a difference and getting paid well to do so, you need to be taking classes under this roof,” Curtis said. “The jobs that CHHS students receive upon graduation will not be outsourced overseas. These jobs are recession-proof, because people need health services regardless of the state of the economy.”
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett was introduced as a longtime partner to the college, both in his current role and his prior tenure at the Hamilton Center.
“The facility’s presence you see from Third Street makes it look so much different here,” Bennett said. “When you walk in this building … (you realize) what a tremendous learning environment it is for students who come here.”
Named spaces in the building and their donors recognized include the following:
• Passmore Family Permanent Art Collection given by Barbara and J. Laurence Passmore.
• Robert and Jean Hollar Student Success Center given by Bruce and Constance Hollar McLaren and Donald and Carolyn Hollar Palmer.
• Dr. Richard Spear Conference Room given by Beverly Spear.
• Dr. Howard Ishisaka Landing given by Nancy Ishisaka and Beverly Spear.
• Sigma Theta Tau, Lambda Sigma Chapter Honorary Wall given by the Lambda Sigma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, Honor Society of Nursing.
• Doctor of Athletic Training Student Social Area given by Indiana State faculty Lindsey Eberman and Kent Games.
• Lugar Family Collaboration Space named in memory of Frank W. Neu given by his daughter, Robyn Lugar, associate professor of social work at Indiana State, and her husband, Joseph.
The dedication ceremony, which was also in celebration of the university’s sesquicentennial era, was followed by refreshments.