Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the release of $10.5 million in planning funds to create preliminary designs for a Health Science Building (HSB) on the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) campus. Pritzker made the announcement in the Morris University Center’s Meridian Ballroom.

The complex will include approximately 221,000 square feet. The project’s total cost is approximately $105 million. It would be the largest building on the SIUE campus.

SIUE operates a School of Pharmacy (SOP), a School of Nursing (SON), a School of Dental Medicine (SDM) in Alton, and related health sciences programs in various disciplines to serve central and southern Illinois. The University has seen broad expansion of the health sciences program in the Department of Applied Health, including exercise science, kinesiology, nutrition and dietetics, public health, and speech-language pathology and audiology.

“This new Health Science Building is an incredibly exciting step forward and will allow SIUE and the SIU System to expand its leadership in health science education in southern Illinois and beyond,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “Specifically, the additional space will facilitate more simulation training, research, and allow growth in programs within nursing, pharmacy and related health science areas. In short, it will improve the overall health of citizens throughout our area. We are extremely grateful to the governor’s office and the Illinois legislature for supporting higher education and health science education in Illinois through this project.”

Renovations are expected for the existing SOP buildings and the surrounding proposed site in University Park, such as parking lot design and reconfiguration, and sidewalks, pathways and roadway improvements. The HSB will also include considerations for seismic loads and must achieve LEED silver.

The HSB will provide modern classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, faculty offices, administrative spaces, and student resource and study spaces. It would also increase SON student capacity and increase the size of the SON Simulation Laboratory.

Jessica Hammel, a senior nursing student from Carlyle, expressed her gratitude to the governor. “This new building will provide SIUE nursing, pharmacy, and applied health students the opportunity to learn professional skills in an innovative state-of-the-art simulation laboratory learning center, to engage in interprofessional education, and to participate in biomedical and clinical research, all with the goal of enhancing collaboration among health professions for improved healthcare delivery throughout the state of Illinois and the region,” she said.

“Students from the southern Illinois region and beyond will be eager to attend school at SIUE in a new, modern facility,” Hammel added. “Specifically, the goal of attracting more SIUE nursing students to address the shortage of RNs and advanced practice providers in the rural southern Illinois region will be realized.”

“We expect to begin the one-year design process as early as this summer, followed by a two-year construction schedule,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Rich Walker.