New building expansion planned for Vanderbilt School of Nursing

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing will soon break ground on a new 29,947-square-foot addition connecting to its existing buildings on the Vanderbilt campus. Construction is expected to begin in late spring and be completed in August 2018.

“This expansion will strengthen the School of Nursing’s position as one of the nation’s elite nursing schools, known for its graduate nursing education, advanced practice and research programs,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “It will also elevate the school’s reputation in research by expanding its capability to support its growing faculty research endeavors.”

The $23.6 million facility, approved by Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, will be built at the intersection of VUSN’s historic Godchaux Hall and the Patricia Champion Frist Hall near the south side of the Heard Library. The five-floor structure will house technologically advanced classrooms, conference and seminar rooms, student services offices, faculty offices and a state-of-the-art simulation teaching lab that will allow complex skills development and real-time feedback on students’ clinical nursing skills. The building’s virtual classroom will incorporate leading-edge online and distance technology to facilitate distance learning, and its interactive classroom will facilitate large- and small-group interactions with electronic methods that allow for sharing of group data and findings.

“The School of Nursing has experienced exponential growth in the past 10 years. In 2006, we had 580 students. This year, that number was 879, making VUSN one of the largest nursing programs in the U.S.,” said Linda Norman, dean and Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing. “The building expansion is needed to accommodate the increased number of students, faculty and staff, and to ensure the school continues to attract and recruit the best students and faculty.”

The project will also allow for faculty to be housed in continuous, non-leased space, increasing communication and engagement for students and faculty. Student services such as admissions, financial aid, clinical placement and academic support also will be able to be located together.

The new addition will expand the space for teaching and will allow faculty to be located contiguous to the classrooms and labs, Norman said. In addition, the expansion will free space in Godchaux Hall that can be dedicated to research and research faculty.

The construction plans call for a four-story atrium that will connect Frist Hall, Godchaux Hall and the Nursing Annex. When finished, the light-filled and airy atrium will serve as the school’s new main entrance and lobby. The fifth floor of the expansion will include a green roof terrace and a large rooftop conference room with a view of the city. The building’s exterior design is consistent with Godchaux Hall’s Collegiate Gothic style and will complement the Heard Library. The environmentally responsible building will be LEED- and WELL-certified.

The project also includes redeveloping the school’s frontage on 21st Avenue South to incorporate a turnaround and wider entrance that will give more visibility to the school and the university on the eastern edge of campus

Hastings Architecture Associates LLC are the project’s architects and the construction manager will be D.F. Chase.

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