Published: August 31, 2018
In the span of a year, the center of campus grew skyward. Six floors to be exact. In the Graduate and Health Studies Building, The University of Tampa constructed its largest academic building yet, and on Friday, Aug. 31, celebrated its grand opening.
“Over 15,000 friends carried us through to the final campaign goal with their donations,” said President Ron Vaughn, of the celebration that also marked the conclusion of UT’s Creating Tomorrow Capital Campaign. “It all adds up to a promise made, dreams realized, for our University community, most especially our students, their faculty and the staff. We thank them for what they do every day here. You motivate us to continue to dream, plan and execute for the benefit of students, faculty and staff and for the Tampa Bay community.”
At 91,000 square feet, the building houses UT’s programs in nursing and physician assistant medicine, as well as UT’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies, classrooms, health science labs, a physics research lab, student gathering and study spaces, and faculty offices.
Two floors are dedicated to UT’s nursing program, which has long been renowned as one of the best in Florida. The nursing space includes a reception area, a large patient care center, ICU simulation rooms, health assessment clinical spaces, a student lounge and study spaces, faculty and staff offices, a large conference room and classrooms.
Michele Wolf ’08, the director of the Master of Science in Nursing program and associate professor, graduated from UT 10 years ago. For her, the new building is symbolic of the growth of the nursing program and the support of the community.
“We have grown exponentially over the last decade, and it has taken a lot of effort by many people to get us to where we are today. Our growth and reputation as an outstanding nursing program will continue to flourish as we utilize the plethora of additional resources we have been given to create a dynamic learning environment for our students,” Wolf said. “The expression on our students faces as they entered our spectacular new building and state-of-the-art simulation lab was priceless – it said it all!”
Two floors of the building were specifically designed for UT’s new program in physician assistant medicine. This facility includes a clinical skills lab, patient simulation labs, assessment rooms, digital anatomy lab, classrooms, study spaces, offices, a conference room and a unique moulage room, which is a specialized room for applying mock injuries for student training.
Johnna Yealy, founding director of the program in Physician Assistant Medicine, said, “The state-of-the-art simulation center and training space for physician assistant students will allow us to train future healthcare providers in the real world environment. One in which they will diagnose and treat patients, increasing quality of care and improving patient outcomes.”
The physics department used to be tucked away in a downstairs corner of Plant Hall’s science wing. With its new digs in GHS, their skyline views look heavenward - appropriate since much of their research is celestial.
“The new classroom and laboratory spaces allow us to deliver a better physics course experience for students in the natural and health sciences, while our new computational physics lab provides our physics majors with the tools for cutting edge astrophysical data and modeling research,” said chair of the department, Ethan Deneault. “The physical sciences have been a part of UT since its founding, and a selection of historical equipment from the history of physics at UT is on display as part of our space on the 6th floor.”
The top floor, with sweeping views of campus and downtown Tampa, includes a reception area, a student study area, a conference room, classrooms, approximately 25 faculty and staff offices and other workspaces to provide support to UT’s Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies.
“This new facility vividly embodies UT’s ongoing commitment to excellence in graduate professional education,” said Don Morrill, associate dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies. “It will surely inspire our students to strive to reach for their utmost potential. They are the makers of the future, after all.”
The building was paid for through a combination of individual gifts and University funds. GHS was designed by the team of KWJ Architects and Beck Architecture, and the building was constructed by Beck.
In alignment with UT’s commitment to create a responsible, efficient, healthy and sustainable campus, the building is a candidate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Coming soon, the Graduate and Health Studies Building’s twin will be erected, which will house UT’s Technology Building. The two buildings will be joined by a three-story sky bridge with additional functional space.