Two major construction projects are currently in progress at Indiana Wesleyan University this fall semester, and both are scheduled to be completed within the next two years.
The first project, the Wesley Seminary building, was approved by the IWU board of trustees in 2008, and construction began on it in spring 2012. The project is set to be completed by fall 2013, according to the IWU Campus Planning and Construction website.
Although the building specifically dedicated to the Wesley Seminary is currently under construction, the seminary, along with the School of Theology and Ministry, has been housed in the Noggle Christian Ministries Center on the Marion campus since August 2009, according to the Wesley Seminary website.
Dr. Wayne Schmidt, vice president for IWU Wesley Seminary, said in an email not much has been decided regarding the extra space in Noggle once the seminary is moved to the Wesley Seminary building.
The seminary already has 200-300 students, according to a Sojourn article from Jan. 2012, and offers Master of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees.
This $7 million project is partially funded by a gift of $2.5 million from the owner of Hobby Lobby stores, the Green family. The seminary will be two stories tall, covering 21,000 square feet, as described on the Wesley Seminary website.
The layout will include room for classrooms, faculty offices and a multi-purpose gathering place for students to study and have fellowship.
“We are very excited,” said Schmidt in an email, referring to the recent tour that he and the rest of the Wesley Seminary faculty took of the facility while under construction.
One of their reasons for excitement is for the joining of the seminary admissions’ team to the rest of the seminary staff. According to Schmidt, the seminary admissions’ team is currently located in a different facility than the rest of the team, residing in the College of Adult and Professional Studies building rather than in Noggle.
“It will be great to be together with them in the new facility and join with them in welcoming potential new students to the campus,” said Schmidt.
The second project, the Science and Nursing Building, was approved by the IWU board of trustees in April 2011, and construction began in May 2012. The project is set to be completed by fall 2014, one year after the Wesley Seminary’s completion date, stated by the Campus Planning and Construction website.
The new building will be located on the site of the former Old College Church, which was torn down during summer 2011.
The Science and Nursing Building is actually just one aspect of the Health Sciences Initiative, according to IWU News. The IWU board of trustees estimates the entire initiative to be completed by 2020 at a cost of up to $110 million. Included in the initiative is the establishment of a school of osteopathic medicine in Kansas.
According to IWU News, “The total [Health Sciences Initiative] project would be the largest in size and most costly in IWU history.”
A main focus for constructing the new Science and Nursing Building was to “build on the already strong foundations of the School of Nursing and pre-med programs at IWU,” said President Henry Smith, quoted in a Jan. 2012 Sojourn article.
One of the ways these programs are being built upon, Smith said in the article, is by “moving from a primarily undergraduate focus to a graduate focus with master’s and doctoral programs.”
There should be five programs “up and running in the fall of 2014,” said Dr. Barbara Ihrke, dean of the School of Nursing: doctor of nursing practice (spring 2013), master of public health (fall 2013), doctor of physical therapy (2014), doctor of occupational therapy (2014) and entry level masters program for athletic training (2014).
In reference to the hiring of new professors for these programs, Ihrke said that it “is still a couple years out,” meaning that no interviews specified for the new programs have been prepared or conducted.
This $45 million project is being constructed in two parts, the first being an atrium located right between Burns and the new Science and Nursing Building, connecting to the main buildings on each side by walkways. It will be placed right where the road going from College Wesleyan Church to Shatford Circle is now.
In the future, students will go through the atrium to get to CWC on Sunday mornings and along Selby Road, the road coming from parking lot no. 3 behind Shatford and in front of the new Science and Nursing Building to get to the Shatford Circle. Ihrke predicted that it will become “a major road.”
The atrium will be three stories tall. Ihrke described it as having three study rooms, a small coffee bar and seating area for congregating and studying.
The second part of the project is the five-story-tall Science and Nursing Building. The first floor is for math and computer science; the second for biology; the third for chemistry; the fourth for offices of biology, chemistry and the School of Nursing; and the fifth floor for pre-licensure nursing or residential campus nursing. The current School of Nursing in Burns will be moved to fill all of fifth floor and half of fourth, with the health sciences mixed in there as well.
With such an addition as this, IWU is preparing to draw more students. Smith estimated in an IWU News article that the new building and graduate programs “could produce a stable student body of 300 graduate health professionals and a significant lift in undergraduate enrollment.”
Smith specified this enrollment lift by stating in another IWU News article that the project “could mean an additional 700 undergraduate students for the residential campus in Marion.”
As always, with more undergraduate students comes the need for more housing. “Space is going to be desperately needed,” said Ihrke. “Desperately.”
Ihrke’s first prediction for the housing dilemma was that Shatford would reopen. Beyond that, as far as undergraduate as well as graduate housing, Ihrke was at a loss.
“We have begun talking about how to integrate graduate students into a residential campus,” said Ihrke. “There will be graduate students on the campus … and their needs will be different. … They’re just beginning to explore what [those needs] might be. … We’ll have to investigate what it really means to have a lot of graduate students here.”
In addition to the construction of the Science and Nursing Building, another portion of the Health Science Initiative is to renovate Burns Hall.
This $5 million project will occur only after the Science and Nursing Building is completely done and all faculty members have moved out of their offices on the first floor of Burns and into their offices on the fifth floor of the new building.
Ihrke said faculty members will move into the new building over spring break 2014, so they can begin using the offices and classrooms when the students return from break.
The faculty members’ old offices in Burns “will be renovated into more simulation area, … exam rooms [and] a conference room,” said Ihrke. Renovations are scheduled to occur over summer 2014.
“I’m just so very excited,” said Ihrke. “We are really really thrilled. We feel very blessed that we’re going to have that. Our simulation lab is already a stellar simulation lab and when we tell people that we’re doubling they’ll go, ‘You’re kidding, you already have such a super one.’ But we really believe that the future is more students and we believe that one way to be able to manage more students is to have more simulation space.”