WINCHESTER, Va. — Shenandoah University health care students started their first day of classes Monday in grand fashion — in the nearly completed 71,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Health & Life Sciences Building.
The four-story building, which features a copper-roofed rotunda and a large colonnade, should be completed by early next month. “Hopefully, in two weeks it’s 100 percent done,” SU project manager Jeff Davis said Monday morning. Work continues to finish off the rotunda and the colonnade, which will be getting railings and rocking chairs. “The grounds will be done this week, hopefully,” Davis said.
From the deck of the colonnade to the overhead roof is 32 feet, he said. “At night, it lights up really well,” Davis said of the building, which anchors the south corner of the university’s main campus.
Inside the $25 million facility are classrooms and faculty offices for nursing, biology, chemistry, athletic training, respiratory care, pre-health programs and some graduate-level programs. “Now all of our undergraduate students are educated at main campus, and of course, their experiential settings,” SU President Tracy Fitzsimmons said.
Previously, classes were scattered around the SU campus, as well as at 333 W. Cork St. (formerly Winchester Memorial Hospital) and SU’s Health Professions Building on the campus of Winchester Medical Center. Graduate-level occupational and physical therapy classes, as well as physician assistant classes, will be moving to the WMC campus from the Cork Street location.
“Large murals for the atrium areas of the Health & Life Sciences Building are expected to arrive this week,” Fitzsimmons said. They’ll feature the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains and the seven bends of the Shenandoah River.
The top floor includes a 16-bed cadaver lab. “It’s on the [fourth] floor because it makes ventilation easiest,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think [there] is some beauty in the thought that people who willed their bodies to science are in the most beautiful room with the best view.”
The bottom, or garden-level floor — below the first floor — is unused space for now, but Fitzsimmons said there are various possibilities for its future, including room for growth or a new program.
Kathryn Ganske, dean of the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, was impressed with the new structure. “This is a magnificent space,” she said. “[Students] come in and they look up and they look around and the space is so full of light. It’s beautiful, and it has the latest technology, the latest equipment for learning.”
Ganske referred to the new building as “so Jeffersonian,” and said it would be beneficial to all students. “We’re so thrilled to have the nursing students on campus mingling with everyone else on quad, going to the student center, going to the dining hall, being more involved with activities,” she said.
Alexa Reynolds, a junior nursing major, and Roxanna Beeler, a sophomore exercise science student, were in the building for the first time Monday morning. “I think it’s beautiful, I love it,” Reynolds said. “I love brand new.” Beeler pronounced the building “gorgeous.”
“And, it looks clean and fresh,” she added. “We’re not going to want to leave this building,” Reynolds said.
Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. was the general contractor on the project. The fast-track project was delivered in 13 months.
Source: The Winchester Star