Western Carolina University’s Health and Human Sciences Building, under construction off Little Savannah Road, is projected to be completely built by fall 2011 and operational in spring 2012, said Alan Sellars, project manager.
The four-story, 160,000-square-foot building’s steel supports are almost done. Floor slabs are being installed, and work is under way on masonry, interior walls and plumbing.
The project has encountered delays, some of which resulted from severe winter weather, since the groundbreaking in September 2009, but should be closed in before winter, said Sellars.
The facility is the first to be constructed on 344 acres WCU acquired across N.C. Highway 107 from the main campus as part of the Millennial Initiative. The interior will feature clinical and laboratory spaces, and offices and meeting areas for College of Health and Human Sciences’ programs that are currently located across four buildings.
Other features include videoconferencing and telehealth capabilities, a pool for teaching and performing aquatic therapy and a video production studio. Faculty members will be able to view live video feeds of interaction between patients and students, and host guest speakers who are off-site. In addition, the building’s size and parking will allow for growth of unique clinics that support community needs.
Design features include a glassed-in atrium and a roof garden looking out on the mountains with an approximately 12-foot wide walkway accessible from the parking lot.
“This building is in a beautiful, beautiful setting,” said Sellars. “The roof garden and the atrium are really going to be spectacular.”
Marie Huff, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, said the building will enhance opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration between students, faculty and the community.
“The excitement among faculty and students is palpable as the building completion date grows closer,” said Huff.