In celebration of the expansion of its health science programs, West Liberty University broke ground on its new Campbell Hall of Health Sciences on a sunny and clear Monday morning on the school's main campus.
It is estimated that the $23 million building will be completed by November 2013 and will house the health science majors offered at the university including physician assistant studies, dental hygiene, nursing, medical laboratory sciences, speech pathology/audiology and chemistry.
"This is a very exciting day at West Liberty," said university President Robin C. Capehart. "We started out on a journey five years ago to move from a good college to a great university. Today we celebrate a milestone and that's breaking ground on Campbell Hall that will house all of the health sciences. It's built so it can expand those programs."
Photo by Sarah Harmon
West Liberty University President Robin C. Capehart, left, and former WLU President Clyde D. Campbell stand in front of an artist’s rendition of the future Campbell Hall of Health Sciences during the building’s groundbreaking Monday.
Capehart said the four-story building, located on Faculty Drive below Shaw Hall, will be the first structure on campus since 1976 to be dedicated solely to academics. The building was designed in the neoclassical style to match the aesthetics of the existing architecture on the campus.
Clyde Campbell, for whom the building was named, was honored at the ceremony. Campbell served for 11 years as president of the former West Liberty State College and was a scientist and teacher whose research in biological chemistry and plastics led to 31 patents and publications in scientific journals.
"I have been involved in the groundbreaking for many of the buildings on the campus, but obviously the ceremony today, from a personal standpoint, is much more significant," Campbell said. "I've said this before, but I know of no other way to express it, that is the fact that West Liberty has been such a large part of my life through the years and now, quite literally, I'll be able to be a part of West Liberty's life for some years to come. It makes a person feel proud, humble, excited and grateful."
Rep. David B. McKinley also spoke during the ceremony.
"My family has been involved in the campus since the 1950s and I can remember that winding dusty road to come to this campus. I've watched this college now grow into a university, to watch it grow with the reputation it has, how it's expanded. What has been done here has been phenomenal," said McKinley, R-W.Va.
Campbell Hall will house the first physician assistant program at a state-funded institution in West Virginia. Decked out in white coats, the first class of the program began classes that day and were recognized at a celebratory breakfast before the groundbreaking. The program will be holding classes in the campus library until the opening of Campbell Hall.
According to Capehart, Campbell Hall and the physician assistant program were both implemented to expand the health sciences at the university in order to meet the growing need for health care professionals in local hospitals and clinics.
"As a public institution, we understand that we have a responsibility to meet the needs of the people of West Virginia and the people of our community," Capehart said. "It's a very unique program that's extremely important because we're training individuals who will play a vital role in providing health care services to the people of our region and the people of our state."