Transforming health education

An energy-efficient building that ensures high-quality learning and engaged collaboration is achieved with the new, highly functional Health and Human Services building.

Marcee Everly can attest to the transformation of Indiana State’s campus during her past decade on the nursing faculty. But the change she most anticipated was unveiled in December with the opening of the new Health and Human Services building.

Indiana State hosted a ribbon cutting at the $64 million expansion and renovation of the Health and Human Services building — the largest state-funded project in the university’s history.

Marcee Everly

“We had simply outgrown the nursing building, but a lot of people weren’t sure if they would see the day that we would get a new facility,” said Everly, chair of the baccalaureate nursing department. “I’m glad I’m here to see it open.”

In July 2016, the university broke ground on the silver LEED-certified project, which includes major upgrades to improve temperature control and air quality in the building as well as technology improvements. Interior space reconfiguration will enable academic programs to function more efficiently and an 87,000-square-foot expansion will house new and existing academic programs.

The renovation and expansion project addresses the critical need for classrooms and laboratories to support the rapid growth the College of Health and Human Services has experienced in recent years. It now educates more than 2,700 undergraduates, 750 graduate students and employs 93 full-time faculty and 55 full-time staff.

Growing pains have forced the college to house programs throughout several buildings on campus and an off-campus site. Once the second phase of construction is completed in 2019, the new facility will bring six of the seven departments in the College of Health and Human Services under one roof. The department of applied medicine and rehabilitation will remain across the street in the Sycamore Center for Wellness and Applied Wellness.

When most people think of LEED certification, they think about environmental stewardship, as it provides a blueprint for building designers to reduce the environmental impact of the structure.

“Reducing environmental impact not only has positive economic effects, both short-term in energy savings and long-term in reduced deferred maintenance,” said Nick McCreary, Indiana State’s sustainability coordinator. “But something that is often overlooked is the emphasis on indoor environmental quality. LEED certified buildings are better places to work and study because of improved indoor environmental quality, which can range from more natural lighting to low VOC paints. Every occupant will notice improved conditions compared to other none LEED certified building.”

The facility is designed to bring the outdoors inside with glass, natural light and a 2,500 square foot, open air space wellness garden with seating and various and plantings enhance the space. A two-story clear space promenade running east to west through the building also provides access to the adjacent Hulman Memorial Student Union.

The building facade incorporates brick, limestone, granite and glass and is a stunning addition to the main entry to campus from Third Street. A pedestrian entry also opens into a four-story atrium space and the front of the building is fitted with a large, open multi-purpose green space.

“Studies have shown that regular exposure to green space can contribute to a sense of well-being and reduce stress,” said Caroline Mallory, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Too many of us sit at our desks and miss taking advantage of time we could be using to talk and collaborate, which makes the social aspects of the building important, too. There are a number of collaborative spaces on every floor to allow students and faculty to come together for classwork or informal conversation now that we’ll all be under one roof with applied medicine across the street.”

Although each department has its own floor in the new facility, their proximity has the potential to open more collaborative opportunities and to further enhance the student experience.

“Faculty offices also have a glass window facing the hallway, and I think that will increase interaction between faculty members and students,” said Tom Nesser, chair of the department of kinesiology, recreation and sport.

With the first phase complete, all nursing faculty will be moved to the new building. The nursing learning resource center will remain in the nursing building for at least another year until the second phase of construction, which includes remodeling the main floor of the arena, is complete.

The new facility is fitted with some lab space and small classrooms on the first floor, but most of the new classrooms and labs will be part of the second phase of construction.

Maybe the biggest perk of the new building for the department of baccalaureate nursing, Everly said, is that all 16 full-time faculty members will have their own offices.

“Over half of my faculty were sharing offices, because we outgrew our space in the nursing building,” she said. “All of my faculty are also student advisors, and I will sometimes see a faculty member who is sharing an office sitting in the hallway because the faculty member they share an office with is having an advising session. Being able to have their own offices will improve their ability to confidentially counsel students.”

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