New building: This artist’s rendering shows a renovated and expanded Arena Building that is needed to provide academic space for the college’s programs, to provide adequate training for health care professionals and to meet growing demand. ISU photo
New building: This artist’s rendering shows a renovated and expanded Arena Building that is needed to provide academic space for the college’s programs, to provide adequate training for health care professionals and to meet growing demand. ISU photo
Next year, Indiana State University plans to ask the Legislature for $64 million to renovate and expand the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services building. 

ISU trustees approved the 2015-17 capital budget request during a meeting Thursday. That would be ISU's only capital request for the biennium. 

"It's a growing college in terms of enrollment and academic programs," said Diann McKee, ISU vice president for business affairs. "It currently is spread out all over campus in various facilities. This [new plan] allows for all but one department to be housed under one roof, with the remaining department literally across the street." That will allow for better collaboration among departments and among faculty, she said.

The current building was built in two phases in 1961 and 1985. It has undergone no renovations or updates since then. There are parts of the building that may not be ADA-compliant, McKee said, and there are issues with electrical systems and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning).

The college has added a number of new faculty for new academic programs, and it's been a challenge to find appropriate space to house them, she said.

That request will now be submitted to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana State Budget Agency for their review. Final approval would have to come from the Legislature when it meets, starting in January. "We are very early in this process," she said.

If the project is approved, it would most likely be funded through fee replacement appropriations, which means the state would reimburse the university for the cost of debt service up to $64 million. Trustee Ed Pease, a former state senator and U.S. congressman, cautioned it would be a "big task" to get all of the funding approved in one legislative session.

ISU has a lot of state-funded debt service that will be paid off within the next few years, McKee said. "We are hopeful that might allow for some possibilities for a project of this kind."  But, she added, "There are no guarantees. This is a legislative process."

The college has seven departments including three in nursing; applied health sciences; applied medicine and rehabilitation; kinesiology, recreation and sport; and social work.

The renovation/addition project would allow six of seven departments to be located in one facility, said Jack Turman, the college's dean, in an interview. "That will allow us to implement interdisciplinary teaching and research programming for students." In nursing, health and human services, "No one operates as an island," he said.

Also, Turman said, "I really want this to be a facility for the community," with space for community education and health literacy programs. Students need to be able to interact with and learn from the community to address health and wellness issues, he said.

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