Construction of Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences Building Nears Completion

Ashland University’s Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences

7/09/12 ASHLAND, Ohio – It has been a hot and dry summer so far -- perfect conditions for finalizing construction of Ashland University’s new 46,000-square-foot Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences facility located at the corner of Trimble Road and Marion Avenue in Mansfield. The new building is set to open for fall classes that start on Aug. 20.

“We are on schedule with the construction and are so excited that we will have students in this new state-of-the-art facility in about a month and a half,” said Ashland University President Fred Finks. “This new building has been a dream of a lot of people in the Richland County area who are associated with health care.”

While fundraising for the new building has surpassed the initial campaign goal of $12 million, revised plans and increased construction costs have pushed the total cost of the building to nearly $15.5 million.

“We continue to raise money for the construction of the new facility and we are hopeful that we can reach this new goal by the end of the year,” Finks said. “We have a lot of proposals out there and are awaiting responses. This has been a team effort put forth by a lot of people.”

The groundbreaking for the new building was held on June 16, 2011, and a dedication ceremony is now planned for Oct. 12 at 4 p.m. at the new building located at the corner of Trimble Road and Marion Avenue. The dedication ceremony will consist of a short opening program dedicating the facility followed by tours of the new building.

“This will be a very, very special day,” Finks said. “It is hard to believe that it was January of 2010 when this idea to acquire MedCentral began to take shape, and 2 ½ years later we will be holding classes in a new state-of-the-art building.”

The new facility will include a variety of clinical practice labs, including the Center for Simulations, Health Foundations Practice Lab, Family Health Practice Lab, Adult Health Practice Lab, Complex Care Practice Lab, ICU/CCU/NICU Patient Room and Advanced Care Lab. Other spaces in the College will include traditional classrooms, faculty/staff offices, student study and lounge areas, and student support spaces.

“This facility will enhance our ability to meet the needs of our students in ways we have not been able to before and allow us to educate and prepare nurses who are ready to meet the health care needs of a complex society,” said Faye Grund, interim dean of the Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

In August of 2010, Ashland University acquired MedCentral College of Nursing as part of its strategic plan to expand its health care program to meet the demand for qualified nurses in Ohio and the United States.

The University then launched a fundraising campaign – “Compassion. Community. Commitment. Building a Healthy Tomorrow” – to fund construction of the new facility. The campaign received a $5 million lead gift from Ashland University alumnus and longtime supporter Dwight Schar.

The new building will replace the old MedCentral facility on Glessner Avenue, which is being leased by the University as part of the agreement with MedCentral.

“Currently, students are taking classes in the old MedCentral facility and this building was constructed in 1923,” Finks said. “The nursing faculty, staff and students have seriously outgrown the original structure and need new space specifically designed to accommodate the latest technological advances in nursing education.”

Nursing students complete their first two years of the program on the Ashland University campus and then move to the Mansfield campus for the last two years of education and clinical studies.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.