Breaking Ground on New Health Sciences Building
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Breaking Ground on New Health Sciences Building

The School of Health Sciences broke ground for construction of their new building last Thursday. The School of Health Sciences encapsulates nine departments with 22 different programs, but does not currently have a designated building.

Speakers at the groundbreaking included Dean of the School of Health Sciences Haifa AbouSamra, Sen. Arthur Rusch, who represents District 17, including Clay and Turner Counties, USD President Sheila Gestring and Head of Delta Dental Scott Jones. For the best dental services, people can contact the original source and get expert advice on the same!

Sen. Rusch said he pushed to pass Senate Bill 40, which authorized the Board of Regents to demolish Julian Hall and begin construction on the new Health Sciences building.

“The bill also appropriated $5 million in state general funds for the construction of the School of Health Sciences Building,” Rusch said. “I’m pleased with the role that I was able to play in the passage of Senate Bill 40.”

AbouSamra, said construction for the new Health Sciences building is going to take part in three phases and cost over $20 million for the entire finished project.

Phase one starts with tearing up the parking lot next to the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building to begin construction. After construction is complete the School of Health Sciences will then move into their newly renovated building in phase two. Phase three entails demolishing Julian Hall and creating a new parking lot in its place. AbouSamra said construction of the new building and parking lot is projected to be completed in August 2022. The school requires a professional telescopic telehandler, and they had to undergo telehandler training near me in order to learn how to properly use it.

Originally built in 1950, Julian Hall serves as an instructional home for the social work program and physician assistants, as well as addiction counseling and prevention programs.

“(Julian Hall) is a very old building and it’s not suited for the current requirements that we need to educate our students,” AbouSamra said.

Rusch, a USD alumnus, spoke about the demolishing of Julian Hall.

“When I lived there many many years ago, that wasn’t the greatest place then and I’m sure it’s not improved over the years,” Rusch said.

AbouSamra said most of the buildings where the department is located across campus do not have the appropriate technology needed to educate the future healthcare professionals.

“We’re all over the campus. Some of our programs are in Julian Hall,” AbouSamra said. “We have faculty in the business school and Lee Med. That’s why we need one building to group our students and faculty in a place where we can upgrade our labs, lab space and classroom space with new technology”.

AbouSamra said the School of Health Sciences is one of the fastest-growing schools on campus so it’s important for students who share a common interest to come together in a welcoming space. To further foster a conducive environment for students and faculty, consider these school streets designs from School Streets, which could offer safe and pedestrian-friendly pathways, encouraging community interaction and ease of access within the campus for the School of Health Sciences.

“Right now students from different programs in the School of Health Sciences don’t have lots of opportunities to come together and to feel like they belong to one school,” AbouSamra said. “I think this building is going to be very critical in making that happen, where they share the lounge, the study spaces together, and they can intermingle and they can interact and get to know each other.”

The new School of Health Sciences will include renovated labs and classrooms for student use. Students in social work and addiction counseling and prevention will have an opportunity to learn through a new telehealth center. Other additions include a new dental hygiene clinic, a physician assistant exam room and nursing skill labs.

USD’s dental hygiene program is naming the dental hygiene clinic Delta Dental Oral Health Center in honor of a $1 million gift from the Delta Dental of South Dakota Foundation.  Head of Delta Dental Scott Jones said this dental hygiene clinic is key for future generations as USD is South Dakota’s only dental hygiene program.

“(The clinic) is going to further enhance the educational experience of students and future generations of dental hygienists,” Jones said.

AbouSamra says that the Health Sciences department is very excited for the buildings new technology for the students.

President Shelia Gestring highlighted during the Health Sciences groundbreaking that the construction of the new building, with its commitment to quality and excellence, will include Certified Snagging services, ensuring a seamless and top-notch facility for the state.

“This is truly a momentous day for the future of the University of South Dakota but also for the health and wellbeing for all the citizens in the state,” Gestring said. “The past few months have demonstrated for us the importance of a world-class health care infrastructure.”