Methodist University Breaks Ground on New Health Sciences Building

Methodist University broke ground Thursday, Oct. 16, on the new Thomas R. McLean Health Sciences Building, a 34,000-square-foot facility that will house programs in the School of Health Sciences, including the new Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program. The project, which met its $5.5 million fundraising goal, is expected to be finished by Fall 2015, in time for the DPT Program’s first class of students. An additional proposed program in Occupational Therapy is also being planned for a later date. 

Methodist University currently has more than 80 undergraduate and 4 graduate degree programs. The DPT Program will be the University’s first doctoral level program.

President Ben Hancock told the assembled crowd that the building represents a commitment that Methodist has to the greater community, health care professionals, and health care students. Standing in front of the construction site, Hancock said the real foundation of the new building was the students and faculty in the School of Health Sciences, many of whom were in attendance.

“This is a day that we have been looking forward to for some time,” Hancock said. “As we make an investment in our future, we’re doing it through people. … It’s because of your success to date that we have the confidence that we will be equally successful with these two new programs that will be housed in this facility.”

Located near the existing health sciences facilities at the south end of campus, the McLean Health Sciences Building will include offices, classrooms, mock clinical areas, laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, and an adaptive living apartment for training. The facility will also be used for research and to provide services that will optimize performance and reduce risks for athletes in the community.

The Thomas R. McLean Health Sciences Building will expand the academic space for Methodist’s School of Health Sciences, which prepares undergraduate and graduate students for careers as health professionals. The School of Health Sciences includes a variety of undergraduate programs within various health care related fields, including Athletic Training, Health Care Administration, Kinesiology, and Professional Nursing Studies. In addition, the Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies is also included within the school.

Dr. Lori Brookman, dean of the School of Health Sciences, said she was initially disappointed that several maple trees had to be taken down for the new building, but saw a brighter side to the construction today.

“Perhaps it’s coincidence that those trees would just now be bursting into full autumn color,” Brookman said. “I’m confident that the McLean Health Sciences Building will do them justice.”

The University announced the $2.6 million naming gift from the Thomas R. and Elizabeth E. McLean Foundation last year. Thomas McLean was a major real estate developer in Fayetteville and Cumberland County during the 1960s and remained active in real estate until his death in 1998.

“A gift of this size is important to the McLean Foundation as well as Methodist University. This is one of the largest gifts we have ever made,” said Alfred Cleveland, president of the McLean Foundation. “The Foundation regards every grant as an investment. The people and the leadership at Methodist University made it a clear choice for this investment.”

The Thomas R. and Elizabeth E. McLean Foundation, Inc. was founded by Tom McLean in 1996. The foundation benefits philanthropy, voluntarism and grant making foundations, focusing specifically on private independent foundations and programs.

The McLean Health Sciences Building is one of the main projects in the “Campaign for Methodist University – Building Excellence,” which has surpassed the $30 million mark towards the campaign goal of $35 million. The campaign is the largest fundraising initiative in Methodist University’s history.

The campaign will fund scholarships, endowed faculty positions, academic programs, campus life enhancements, new and renovated academic buildings, and six new and expanded athletic facilities.

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