State, UMMC leaders break ground on new School of NursingPublished on Wednesday, June 28, 2023By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.orgState and University of Mississippi Medical Center leaders took the first step in boosting the number of nurses in the state by breaking ground on a new School of Nursing on the 75th anniversary of the program’s founding.“Before there was a University of Mississippi Medical Center, there was a baccalaureate nursing program,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs. “With a rich history of care, education and research, our School of Nursing will advance into the future with a new facility. With this state-of-the-art space, UMMC will be better prepared to meet the demand for nurses in Mississippi and the rest of the country.”Breaking ground on the new UMMC School of Nursing are, from left, Dr. Scott Rodgers, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs; Dr. Michael Parnell, UMMC School of Nursing Alumni Association president; Rep. John Read; Rep. Jason White; House Speaker Philip Gunn; Dr. Tina Martin, interim dean of the School of Nursing; nursing students Rayne Jensen and Amari Reginal; Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann; U.S. Rep. Michael Guest; Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr.; and architect Jim Eley, principal of Eley Guild Hardy Architects.The School of Nursing has been located on the UMMC campus since 1956. Last month, 416 graduated from the school. The school’s estimated enrollment for this fall is 820. The new facility will accommodate a 25 percent enrollment increase.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 203,200 openings for registered nurses each year through 2031, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports.Woodward welcomes dignitaries to the Medical Center during the School of Nursing groundbreaking ceremony.The School of Nursing was created because state leaders recognized a shortage of nurses in Mississippi, Woodward said.“It has been more evident than ever that our nursing workforce is critical to appropriate and adequate health care delivery across the state and across the nation,” she said. “Now, seeing today’s need for more nurses and nurse educators, they have provided the funds to build a new state-of-the-art home for our School of Nursing.”The new 106,000-square-foot School of Nursing will include about 78,000 square feet of new construction. The University Rehabilitation Center, a 28,000-square foot building, will be renovated to house simulation and skills laboratories. Eight simulation suites will include control booths and debriefing rooms, and the building will also include suites for virtual and augmented reality and primary care.Mississippi Nurse Honor Guard member Margie Divinity, a retired nurse manager from UMMC, waves to guests during the School of Nursing groundbreaking ceremony.The three-story addition will feature a 200-seat auditorium, large flexible-format classrooms, group study rooms, a large open study area and an undergraduate student lounge. Faculty and administrative offices, meeting rooms and research laboratories will be housed on the second and third floors. A 16,000-square-foot courtyard, a new parking lot and a small amphitheater will complete the project.Hosemann tells of the state's critical need for nurses.The cost of the new School of Nursing is covered by $55 million in coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds authorized by the federal American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature in 2022 along with $12 million in funding from the Medical Center. The first nursing education building at UMMC opened in 1963, with an addition following in 1969. The School of Nursing’s most recent expansion was opened in 1999.The shortage of nurses in the state makes this project vital, said Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.“There is a huge need, we think as many as 3,000 nurses short here,” he told the audience. “We need nurses, and what better to have them educated than at the University of Mississippi Medical Center?”Rep. Jason White, speaker pro tempore of the state House of Representatives, said the new facility “moves our nursing program in the state forward.”Martin, interim dean of the School of Nursing, shares the features the new School of Nursing will include.Dr. Tina Martin, who earned her BSN, MSN and PhD at UMMC, will begin serving as interim dean of the School of Nursing July 1.“I’m a proud UMMC graduate,” she said, “so this is very personal to me. The impact of this new facility will be profound. The increased number of nursing graduates means that there will be more nurses at the bedside and more nurse educators to train the nurses that we need.”Gordon Gartrell, nurse manager of the pediatric intensive care unit at the Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi, earned BSN and MSN degrees from the School of Nursing and is now pursuing a PhD there.Gordon Gartrell, a UMMC alumnus and PhD student, tells how his nursing education helps him care for pediatric intensive care patients at Children's of Mississippi.“I know the value of the nursing education I received at UMMC’s School of Nursing,” he said. “The UMMC School of Nursing is excellent today, but having this new facility will bring the school’s home up to the level of excellence of our nursing faculty.”First-year traditional BSN students Kayla Evans of Jackson and Chassidy Rogers of Pearl were volunteering at the event, handing out programs and bottles of water. For the two, the groundbreaking was a promise for the future.“This gives the School of Nursing more recognition and offers students more opportunities,” Evans said.Rogers agreed. “This gives the School of Nursing and its students something to look forward to.”Nursing student and GivePulse volunteers Chassidy Rogers, left, and Kayla Evans pass out water and programs during the UMMC School of Nursing groundbreaking.