After receiving a $2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) earlier this year, Briar Cliff University is finalizing plans for a new healthcare workforce training facility.
According to a release from the university, additional support provided by the Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD) and other donors has allowed the university to increase its fundraising goal for its planned redesign.
The training facility will focus on enhancing access to healthcare as well as education for students in the tri-state area, Briar Cliff said.
The proposed design will remove Toller Hall in order to prepare a new building. The college said that the building will allow all disciplines within the college to relocate to one building which they say would simulate a real-world healthcare setting.
“As we were preparing for the original remodel of Toller Hall, we quickly realized the risk of retrofitting a current residence hall to an educational facility,” said Michelle Boe, Vice President of University Advancement and General Counsel. “We also know there is a great risk to what could be uncovered with a 1967 building. Most importantly, we want to focus on the entire facility, versus one floor.”
The facility will be named the College of Health & Equity, a change from its original name of the School of Interprofessional Health and Help Sciences. Briar Cliff said that adding “Equity” to the name shows they are focusing on intentional recruitment and supporting communities.
Paths offered by the college will include schools of Nursing, Behavior Analysis, and Social Work. It will also offer graduate schools of Occupational and Physical Therapy. Interprofessional health professions such as Kinesiology, Medical Laboratory Science, Radiologic Technology, and Respiratory Care will be offered.
The center will also expand on the Community Clinic which offers physical and occupational therapy, as well as behavior analysis. There will also be a center for equity development such as a Center for Native American Health Professionals.
“Upon further discussion with our partners for the project, faculty, and the community, the redesigned and renamed College of Health & Equity supports our crucial mission to serve the underserved and marginalized,” said Boe. “This model will better align with traditional academic organizations and allow for increased affinity to each school within the College of Health & Equity. More space will be provided for our pro bono services, now called Community Clinics. We also hope to name the schools as we continue fundraising for the project.”
Briar Cliff estimates that the total cost for the College of Health & Equity to be approximately $20 million and they have raised nearly half of the project cost. They are hoping to have the project completed by May 2025.
With the removal of Toller Hall at the beginning of spring 2024, the university is looking into additional housing options that can be provided on campus and are looking at remodeling some of the current housing on campus.