The Texas legislature approved an award of $48.6 million for the new health professions building set to be constructed on Texas State’s Round Rock campus.
The construction for the new academic building is estimated to cost $67.5 million. The St. David’s Foundation has committed to donating $5,000,000.
“We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Texas State and are delighted that Texas State will be able to leverage our dollars to bring even more support to the project,” said Earl Maxwell, chief executive officer of St. David’s Foundation.
The university will receive an additional $5 million from the Texas Research Initiative program funded through the state, said Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions.
“We are extremely grateful for the St. David’s Foundation’s continuing generosity and its commitment to advancing matters of healthcare for the public good,” said President Denise Trauth in a June 19 University News Service article. “This $5 million gift for the new health professions building in Round Rock will allow us to expand important health-related programs and increase badly needed healthcare delivery to a fast-growing population of Texas.”
The rest of the money will be provided through additional local funding and donors, Welborn said.
“We are going to proceed with the building,” Welborn said. “We will have occupancy in 2018.”
Officials said the university will offer three graduate and two undergraduate programs in the new building including communication disorders, physical therapy and respiratory care.
“It’s a great thing for the campus and the city of Round Rock,” said Edna Rehbein, assistant vice president of academic affairs for the Round Rock campus.
Welborn said the three programs will offer clinics in Round Rock which will benefit the community.
The composition of the students at the Round Rock campus is 90 percent evening students, Rehbein said. The new health professions building will increase the number of daytime students.
Welborn said the campus does not offer housing, which increases student spending within the community. She said the university made the decision to move the programs to the Round Rock campus in 2002 or 2003.
Texas State received 101 acres from the Avery family as a gift, Wellborn said. The expectation was the university would construct buildings and offer undergraduate programs, Welborn said.
“We are fulfilling that wish,” Welborn said.
Welborn said the programs will increase by 5 to 10 percent in student numbers when they relocate. She is expecting about 500 students to be enrolled in the programs.
Welborn said the program can only grow so fast, as it is hard to find qualified professionals interested in teaching in the field. Additionally, the hospitals can only sustain a predetermined number of residents and interns.
The nursing program is already located in the St. David’s Nursing building on the Round Rock campus, meaning there will be a total of four upper-level programs offered there.
Welborn said she does not expect much resistance from students who will have to transfer from San Marcos to Round Rock after their sophomore years.
“The programs are so competitive to be admitted into,” Welborn said. “If students are admitted, they are going to take that offer.”
Round Rock has a number of hospitals which give the students the ability to compete for residencies and internships.
Rehbein said current faculty will be offered the opportunity to transfer to the Round Rock campus. The college will look for replacements to fill spots for those teachers who wish to remain in San Marcos.
The College of Professional Health’s administration and support will still be located on the main campus. Four programs will remain in the San Marcos health professions building.
Rehein said they anticipate the Round Rock campus will be providing additional support for the new programs, including classrooms, computer labs and library services.
“We are excited about the move because we are just so out of space here,” Welborn said. “We are eager to move to Round Rock.”
Welborn said it will take about a year to complete the paperwork and prerequisites necessary for construction to begin. Construction will start next summer.
The doors are expected to open in 2018, Rehbein said.