New Nursing and STEM Building at UNCG

Connect NC Bond Q&A with UNC Greensboro Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.

UNCG’s proposed Nursing & STEM Instruction Building will leverage the state’s $105 million capital bond investment for modern labs and classroom construction to address immediate space shortages, as well as accommodate strategic anticipated growth in response to clear demand from students, employers and the needs of the state. The Nursing & STEM Instruction Building will provide an innovative hands-on educational space that simulates contemporary “real world” clinical and lab settings using flexible design that can adapt to the rapid pace of change in high-impact academic programs, while also eliminating a longstanding renovation cost by replacing the outdated 1950s-era McIver Building in the existing footprint. The project also will include the addition of a chiller to meet updated utility load.

The design plan for the facility employs reverse engineering models to identify compatible needs across the included disciplines (Nursing, Health & Human Sciences, Biology, and Chemistry) in order to maximize utilization rates, ensure optimal space flexibility for a broad array of current and future health and science functions, and foster innovative best practice clinical collaboration. The project will take an estimated four years to complete.

Quote: The flexible space design will allow adaptation to technologies and instructional methodologies we don't even know yet.

Why is this particular project important to UNCG?

“The School of Nursing’s enrollment is at capacity due to space constraints, and UNCG turns away 140-150 qualified nursing applicants each year despite the fact that Cone Health states that they could hire 100+ additional new nurses each year.

In addition, UNCG’s science labs are above capacity, which negatively impacts majors in Biology (the second largest major overall at UNCG) and Chemistry (whose faculty engage undergraduates in their extensive and prestigious research activity), as well as students in Nursing and Health and Human Sciences (HHS) programs that rely on the same general science course sections as part of the core curriculum. In other words, when we can’t offer enough course sections in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, the pipeline into and out of degree programs slows down causing financial and timing disruption for students and potential employers. This project will come at the right time as UNCG would otherwise need to address the issues with an outdated facility that would be costly to retrofit.  The proposed new construction targets our strategic and critical academic and workforce needs.”

How does the project meet stated educational goals?

“The Nursing and STEM program expansion will increase student access to high demand health and science education programs, ensure students can stay on track for timely graduation, update technologies to prepare students for the 21st century clinical and scientific workforce, and ensure that our graduates are well-equipped to secure well-compensated jobs that North Carolina employers like Cone Health, Syngenta and Labcorp need to fill.

Adding comprehensive community economic impact, the program expansion will also contribute to the state’s role as a national knowledge-generator through cross-disciplinary collaborative work, externally funded health research and community and industry partnerships in biotech and health improvement that make our graduates more marketable, spark innovation in industry and enhance outcomes in public health.”

What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?

“The impact will be far-reaching, affecting students, employers, UNCG’s academics and the state of North Carolina.

Students will be able to train in new, innovative nursing programs like the Veterans Access Program (VAP), a streamlined path to degree for medically-trained military veterans. The new building addresses current capacity constraints that affect students in the Biology and Chemistry Departments, the School of Nursing and the School of Health and Human Sciences to aid timely progress to degree and lower cost burden on students. The additional programs we will offer will prepare students for the workforce using Industry-led best practice and innovative teaching practice that simulates modern lab and clinical settings

Employers within North Carolina will benefit from a steady pipeline of highly qualified and prepared graduates in high need fields, as well as with research opportunities in novel drug lead discovery and clinical outcome enhancements at the undergraduate and graduate levels, which translate readily into new employment.

Academically, as healthcare, biomedical and STEM fields continue a rapid trajectory of change, the flexible space design will allow adaptation to technologies and instructional methodologies we don’t even know yet.

In the interim, the building provides a technologically appropriate location to house currently held state-of-the-art equipment such as the Anatomage Table (one of only 1,000 in the world) and Human Patient Simulators (“medical dummies”) that are proven to enhance preparation, develop clinical decision making skills and reduce medical errors.

Finally, for North Carolina, since 75 percent of UNCG graduates historically stay in-state, the state will directly benefit from the best-trained UNCG nurses, scientists, nutritionists, speech therapists, social workers and gerontologists that seek solutions for the needs and care for our citizens and families every day.”

What other benefits of bond passage do you wish to discuss?

“Successful bond passage would bring more than $200 million to higher education in the Greensboro-area alone, including $105 million for UNCG, $90 million for North Carolina A&T University and $9.5 million at Guilford Technical Community College. These three institutions have a legacy commitment to collaboration and sharing public resources for maximum student and community impact. The combined investment in health, STEM and critical infrastructure needs on our campuses will continue delivering economic returns for taxpayers in our region and across the state for years to come.”