By Chelsie Gastright, Organization Editor
March 27, 2013
High Point University is continually growing. In recent years, HPU has seen the addition of the new School of Education building, a new Starbucks at the bottom of the University Center, and the Biomechanics Lab near Oak Hollow Mall. There have also been renovations, including the Café in Slane Student Center and the University Bookstore.
In the next five years, students at HPU will be seeing even more growth, including new graduate programs and buildings to accommodate them, a new student-focused building, and complete renovations for Vert Stadium.
New Graduate Programs That Will Raise the Bar
Starting in 2015, HPU is planning to begin a three-year phase to introduce three new graduate programs, and begin the construction of the facilities that will accommodate them. The three new graduate programs are going to be part of the School of Health Science and Pharmacy and will include physician assistant, pharmacy, and physical therapy.
“We are very excited about these programs, we think they are going to add a lot to our university and we think there will be a big demand for these programs,” said Roger Clodfelter, vice president of communication.
According to a HPU press release, this new building will be 170,000 square feet and will stand at four stories high. It will be built at the corner of East Farriss Avenue and Panther Drive.
Dr. Ronald Ragan, founding dean and professor in the School of Pharmacy, could not be more thrilled about the introduction of these programs.
“I feel fortunate to be able to work with this talented group of faculty in the education of our future health care providers,” said Ragan. “The expansion of health programs, and the majors that prepare students for them, will allow HPU to increase the impact it has on the community of High Point and the Triad region in general.”
Ragan explained that the pharmacy program will take six years to complete, with students spending the first two years in the School of Arts and Sciences, and then finishing their remaining four in the School of Pharmacy.
“Our school is being designed to help students prepare to practice pharmacy in a wide variety of clinical settings,” said Ragan. “These settings will range from community practice to health system practice with options for meaningful careers in research also.”
Dr. Daniel Erb, dean of the School of Health Science, also explained how these new buildings will shape the future careers of the enrolled students.
“We will teach our students how to think how to practice for the next forty-five years, for as long as they are practicing,” explained Erb. “They need to be critical thinkers because technology changes so fast that we need to prepare students for critical thinking so they can best function in their clinical settings, whatever that is in the future.”
The new pharmacy and health science building will have a variety of new amenities to help better serve the graduate, and undergraduate, students that get to work with them.
Erb talked briefly of a cadaver anatomy lab, which will allow students to examine a pro-sected cadaver, or human body. He also mentioned the building will have a simulation laboratory, which will allow students to get hands-on experience with mannequins that can be programmed to simulate true physiological reactions such as heart rate, and even simulate the birthing process.
New Buildings, New Opportunities
The second major project HPU will be seeing is the building of the Student Success Center. This new Student Success Center is meant to encompass a large portion of the experiential learning that HPU offers its students.
“The idea is to put this kind of hub of all these experiential learning opportunities under one roof so students have a single access point for a lot of these experiential learning opportunities that we know are so valuable for students,” said Clodfelter.
The building will play host to a variety of programs, including the career and internship program, the service learning programs, the entrepreneurship program, study abroad, and undergraduate research and creative works programs.
“The Student Success Center really addresses a great need in terms of it being a competitive world out there for jobs, and students need to be armed with all the skills they possibly can in order to succeed and thrive,” said Clodfelter. “Packaging all these experiential learning opportunities we have and a lot of the pieces that we have outside of the classroom under one umbrella will be really useful.”
It is estimated that the building will be approximately 35,000 square feet and cost about $9 million to $10 million dollars. The Student Success Center currently does not have a set-in-stone build date.
Along with the Student Success Center, Vert Stadium will be receiving a face-lift. The box office and media box overlooking the soccer and lacrosse field will be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.
The new building will be used to house both the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, along with their respective locker rooms. It will also renovate the media office area, which will allow for greater coverage of soccer, lacrosse and track and field sports.
Clodfelter explained that the building is also hoping to be able to accommodate for sports medicine research and classes, as well as provide collegiate athletes with academic and athletic support.
The soccer and lacrosse facility currently does have a set build date, but it will start in the near future. The university also doesn’t have any solidified information on how large the building will be.
What does it mean for students?
While the buildings may not directly affect many students on campus, the primary concern that many students probably share is, “What will this mean for tuition in the next few years?” Unfortunately, there is not an answer quite yet.
“We take very seriously the valued proposition we want to provide for students and families here, and we try to be good stewards of our resources to make sure that the investment that you and your families make in High Point is a sound investment,” explained Clodfelter.
However, there are plenty of benefits that HPU students will see in the coming years. With the addition of the new Student Success Center, students, faculty, staff and outside employers alike will be able to take advantage of the building.
For example, outside employers will be able to come to campus to interview students for prospective jobs in specified rooms. This will allow the employer to not only sit down and see the student, but also see the place that the student has been receiving their education.
These new additions will also allow for new highly accomplished faculty and staff, as well as a new type of student, to join the HPU community.
“We are attracting some amazing faculty to build these programs, and these are the kind of faculty that could go and teach where ever they wanted to,” Clodfelter said. “So that they are here says a lot about their belief in High Point University.”
In fact, it is estimated that these new programs and buildings will bring in 500 new students along with 50 new faculty and staff members.
In the end, the new buildings, the renovations and the addition of the graduate programs will help enhance the HPU experience for many students.