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No Place Like Home

For the first time since the Plaza Verde residence hall was completed in the fall of 2011, new construction is happening on the Angelo State campus.

One $26 million, 50,000-square-foot building will stand three stories tall next to the Vincent Building and Ben Kelly Center for Human Performance (CHP) Upon scheduled completion in January 2018, it will be the new home for the Archer College of Health and Human Services, which currently has its academic departments scattered in at least four buildings and from one side of campus to the other.

“That’s one of the most exciting aspects,” said Dr. Leslie Mayrand, Archer College dean. “There will be plenty of office space for the departments and faculty that are moving in. All the skills labs are also getting bigger, and there will also be debriefing rooms with plenty of space for students to meet informally or study together.”

“As we’ve worked with the architects, our main focus has been the students,” she continued. “I think that comes out loud and clear in the plans. We really want it to be the absolute best place they can be for their learning experience.”

The new building will house the Archer College offices, and the Nursing Department will move from the Vincent Building to take up the entire third floor. The Physical Therapy Department, which is currently split between the Vincent Building and Ben Kelly CHP, will consolidate into the new facility.

“These are very exciting times,” Mayrand said. “I came into the Vincent Building with the nursing program over 30 years ago, and the building quickly filled up. We weren’t sure how big the nursing program was going to get. We had no graduate programs and we didn’t have the baccalaureate in nursing. The Physical Therapy Department did not even exist at that time.”

Dr. Leslie Mayrand

“As we’ve worked with the architects, our main focus has been the students. I think that comes out loud and clear in the plans.”

Dr. Leslie Mayrand

But it is not all just about moving and consolidating the Archer College departments.

“We’re going to have a new Simulation Lab in the new building,” Mayrand said. “So we will go from four unit rooms to six. The Physical Therapy Department and its multiple labs will also be moving in, along with our new health science professions program. PT has never had a true home, but now they will. They have also developed new Teaching Labs for the building that are very exciting.”

“The Teaching Labs will include all the treatment tables and other lab equipment at one end of the room,” she added, “with a classroom setup at the other end. It will be really handy for students to be able to take notes on something and then immediately go get hands-on practice using the lab equipment in the same room. There will be a neurology room, an orthopedic room and others.”

Other tentative plans for the Archer College have the Kinesiology Department remaining in the Ben Kelly CHP and utilizing the extra space vacated by the Physical Therapy Department. The Psychology, Sociology and Social Work Department is tentatively slated to move from the Academic Building into the Vincent Building space previously occupied by Nursing and Physical Therapy.

While those departments will not actually be in the new building, they will be right next door and will have handy access to the lab facilities, as well as three new 50-seat classrooms and a multi-tiered, 70-seat lecture hall.

“Those will be ideal for psychology, sociology, social work and kinesiology classes,” Mayrand said, “because their number of majors is huge. By having those larger classrooms, the whole college will really be able to utilize the new building to its full potential.”

“The Vincent Building has served us well,” she added. “But facilities are extremely important to prospective new students and their parents. They visit schools all across the state and compare the facilities. Our new facilities will be state-of-the-art, and we will have better functionality when it comes to giving tours.”

The new building will also feature a 50-seat Academic Testing Center, abundant natural lighting, wireless capability throughout, technology geared toward modern students, ample storage, and advanced safety and security features.

Archer College Lobby architectural rendering. Archer College Lobby architectural rendering. With the $26 million construction cost being funded by the Texas Legislature and the James B. and Lois. R. Archer Charitable Foundation in San Angelo, Mayrand and the rest of the planning team understand the weight of their charge to design a facility that will be a positive and lasting addition to the ASU campus.

“We’re responsible for how this is going to end up,” Mayrand said. “We’re doing everything we can think of so that this building will serve the ASU community and our students, both now and long into the future. I think it’s just going to be fabulous.”

  • Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
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