$100 million was assigned to Texas Woman’s University’s Denton campus on Oct. 19 by the Texas Legislature to construct a new health sciences building.
Texas lawmakers reached a compromise Oct. 19 to allocate roughly $3.3 billion to varying higher education institutions. Some other universities receiving funding from this legislation are Texas A&M-Kingsville, the University of Texas at Tyler, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas Southern University and Texas State University. Texas has not passed a revenue bond package to fund higher education since 2015.
“This state investment is a game-changer for Texas Woman’s, as the new building will allow the Denton campus to expand programming in high-need, health-related fields such as nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and mental health, just to name a few,” Chancellor Carine M. Feyten said in a press release. “The benefit will be felt throughout the Texas Woman’s University system by alleviating pressure on the clinical programs in Dallas and Houston as well, better positioning all three campuses to grow as we operationalize our status as the first university system in the nation with a commitment to women.”
Feyten advocated for the funding for TWU in testimony before the legislators during the regular legislative session, requesting the legislature to fund a health science facility. Feyten spoke on how the funding could allow expansion for classrooms, offices, clinical spaces and labs to accommodate the growing enrollment of TWU. The proposed 250,000 square-foot building is estimated to cost $108 million, with the funding covering a large majority of the project’s cost.
“Chancellor Feyten mentioned that she believes [the funding] will take pressure off of the Dallas and Houston campuses, and I think it’ll offer more opportunities and programs already here in Denton,” first-year nursing student Lorelei Pittman said.
Pittman believes that with this new funding, people will become more equipped for going into healthcare. She also hopes that there will be more opportunities to get experience with health care on campus, because it’s very important to get comfortable in the healthcare world before transitioning into a healthcare career.
“Texas has a shortage of medical professionals, in particular, nurses and occupational therapists and physical therapists,” TWU spokesperson Matthew Flores said.
The approved funds will cover almost all of the cost of constructing the facility, allowing TWU to expand health care programs. U.S. hospitals are currently experiencing a nurse staffing crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, so more than ever the funding should bring in students looking to go into medical fields, Pittman said.
“[TWU’s nursing program] is really known throughout Texas, and even the U.S., for their nursing program,” Pittman said. “You can’t really find a better program with the same cost.”
Texas Senate Bill 52 will be effective Jan 18., 2022.
Maddie Ray can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.