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Health pavilion begins at school

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Students will have the opportunity to work with doctors or psychologists as they help patients or conduct research when the University of Indianapolis completes construction of a new building for its health programs.

The southside private university is beginning construction this month on the $28 million health pavilion, which will become a new home for health and wellness programs. More than half of the university’s 5,400 students are studying health fields including nursing, physical and occupational therapy, athletic training, kinesiology, psychological services and social work.


All of those programs will move into the new four-story, 156,000-square-foot building once it’s completed in August 2015. The university also is trying to partner with doctors and mental health providers who would open offices in the building, providing an opportunity for students to get hands-on clinical experience.

Interest in medical fields continues to grow, but the main benefit of the new building will be allowing the university to pull all of those students into the same place, university President Rob Manuel said. That will allow those students and faculty to more easily work together, he said.

“They’re now kind of currently separated around campus,” Manuel said. “What we know from listening to the industry and co-morbidity, that the way we educate and treat people is

so connected.”

The health pavilion will include new health equipment and research labs, which will help launch a new Master of Public Health program the university is starting this fall.

The building also will contain public areas, including a two-story atrium and lobby, cafe with outdoor plaza seating and a 140-seat auditorium that could be used for public events.

The school will not own the building but will have a long-term lease with the developer, including an option to buy at a later date.

University of Indianapolis joins other area colleges that are working on expanding medical programs and science offerings for students.

In 2013, Marian College opened a new medical school, the first in Indiana in the last 100 years. Ivy Tech Community College is working toward adding new science labs and launching new health science programs at its Franklin campus, spokesman Randy Proffitt said.

And Franklin College plans to build a new science center to improve course offerings and research opportunities, which is one project President James “Jay” Moseley wants to prioritize before he retires next year.

The University of Indianapolis building is one part of a five-year, $50 million expansion plan, which will include renovating the Krannert Memorial Library, rebuilding student housing on Shelby Street, expanding science labs and launching new academic programs.

The health pavilion project will create a domino effect, allowing the university to work on other improvements it can’t get to now, Manuel said.

For example, once the health sciences programs are moved into the new building, the university can then renovate the basic science labs, such as the cadaver lab, which is used for required anatomy classes, Manuel said.

The city of Indianapolis is helping with projects around the campus, including providing a $1 million to help purchase medical equipment and build a new park near campus.

The city also partnered with the school for a road project that added new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping along Hanna Avenue, which runs along the south edge of the campus.

The Indiana Metropolitan Development Commission also gave the project developer, Strategic Capital Partners, a 10-year-tax break on the building, to be built at the southwest corner of Hanna Avenue and State Street.

The company said the building will retain 100 university jobs and create 30 new positions, with average wages of $29 per hour.

The tax break will save the company about $2.5 million in taxes, about half the amount that would be paid without the incentive.

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