In February 2022, the Texas Woman’s University System Board of Regents approved an architectural plan to build a new health science center at the TWU Denton campus and is expected to finish construction around the fall of 2025.
The new building was specifically designed to address the shortage of healthcare workers, as well as create more clinical infrastructure at the TWU Denton campus. Traditionally, TWU health science students take their classes at the Dallas and Houston campuses.
“Certainly when we designed it, we really wanted to make sure that a lot of the space was usable space with the students for applied learning educational opportunities,” Dean of the College of Health Sciences Christopher Ray said. “The building itself is adding things that don’t currently exist. We don’t have rehab clinics or very much space for rehab clinics. We don’t have specialty labs, we don’t have [simulation] centers. But it’s also why undergraduate nursing hasn’t been offered in Denton historically.”
Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Robert Ramirez is one of the architects who worked on the layout for the new health science building and oversees its construction.
“On the first floor, we will have clinic space for our nursing program, counseling offices, simulation lab, a therapy gym [and] commons,” Ramirez said. “And a forum kind of mixed use flexible space on the first floor. On the third floor, we actually have a couple of flexible classrooms for students, as well as some lounge spaces and things of that nature.”
Ray said that, by building the health science center on TWU’s Denton campus, he hopes it will lead to more partnerships in the curriculum and integrate more healthcare disciplines.
“If we had put the new nursing students on one side of campus and the new [physical therapy] students on the other side of campus, that would not lend itself profession and it’s not that the building’s going to do all of it for us, but having such an amount of the floor space,” Ray said. “Those are things that we’re getting there and allow us to bring that team-based approach to education and that team-based approach to healthcare practice.”
In the initial plan of the building, it was to be modeled after TWU’s health science center on the Dallas campus. But after some time, the design began to change. Ramirez said that he and his team wanted to try new designs that were different from the Dallas campus.
“[On] the Denton campus we have a few design standards that we like to try and adhere to, which is that the exterior is still of a Georgian and collegiate kind of style, very symmetrical, whereas Dallas is a little bit more covered,” Ramirez said. “I remember when the Dallas building was built. I believe it’s already been about 12 years, so there’s a lot of technology change at that time. So we’ll probably have to [have]be spaces that might actually shine a little bit nicer than the ones in Dallas at this point.”
Featured Photo Credit: Jeff Woo
Clarise Tujardon can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.