Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center, announced today (June 13) plans to construct a 73,471-square-foot, three-story facility on the hospital’s campus at a cost of $18.4 million. In support of WKU, The Medical Center is constructing the new facility to house the university’s nursing and physical therapy programs and to provide educational space for the hospital. The facility will be named The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex.
The project will address the national nursing shortage by providing much needed space for WKU to expand its program and double the number of students who can enroll in the university’s nursing program. Eighty percent of the facility will be used by WKU to accommodate assembly, training, classroom and business functions for WKU. The remaining 20 percent will be used by The Medical Center for an auditorium and bed labs for clinical training.
“Southcentral Kentucky, like the rest of the nation, is facing a serious nursing shortage,” Smith said. “We must be diligent in finding ways to prevent a deficit of new nurses in the future. Nursing is a critical component of a hospital’s delivery of care. Enabling Western Kentucky University to expand their program and ultimately their supply of nurses to the healthcare industry will have significant impact on The Medical Center’s ability to maintain the quality care we provide in this region. Not as highly publicized but just as vital is the need to guard against a shortage of physical therapists by providing educational space for the university’s physical therapy doctorate program.”
“Education is an important agent for change, and WKU is committed to providing the means of change that will improve the quality of life for Southcentral Kentucky and beyond,” said WKU President Gary A. Ransdell. “Increasing the number of nurses and physical therapists will help address the critical healthcare needs we face today. Public-private partnerships such as this with the City of Bowling Green and the TIF District, the state of Kentucky and, most important, Commonwealth Health Corporation and The Medical Center at Bowling Green, allow us to provide the means to make those changes possible. This is a win-win situation with our community and region being the ultimate beneficiaries.”
The Medical Center will issue bonds to pay for construction. WKU will lease the facility from The Medical Center for 25 years, income from which will be used toward debt service and operating expenses.
The facility will be located at 700 First Ave. on the edge of the hospital’s campus that borders U.S. 31W-Bypass. The project is estimated to be completed by the 2013 fall semester at WKU. Stengel Hill Architecture has designed the facility to allow for future expansion. Scott, Murphy & Daniel, LLC has been selected as the general contractor.
Contact: Doris Thomas, (270) 745-1589.