West Chester University formally broke ground on the largest building project in the university’s 148-year history: a 176,000-square-foot Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons.
Upon completion, the new $130 million facility will be home to the university’s rapidly growing health science curricula, physics, and the new biomedical engineering program, as well as expansive academic and support spaces. A 450-car parking garage will also be included.
With purple and gold shovels in hand, WCU President Christopher Fiorentino, faculty, staff, community members, and other friends literally “turned the earth” in celebration of the new building, which is slated to open in 2020. The more than $2 million in lead gifts that are initiating the project were also announced.
The three-story facility is being built with the initial support of two critical leadership gifts. Marc Duey – the Founder, President, and CEO of ProMetrics, as well as an adjunct professor at the university who teaches in the Marketing Department and the Pharmaceutical Product Development Program – and his family have made a generous gift of $1 million toward the project.
ProMetrics serves the decision-support needs of specialty biopharma executives with a focus on patient-level data impacting prescription efficiency. Under Duey’s direction, ProMetrics has served more than 150 clients, completed more than 10,000 projects, and played a role in the launch of dozens of specialty brands that have reached sales in excess of $1 billion per year.
Student Services, Inc. (SSI) has also made a generous gift of $1 million to the project, thanks to Bernie Carrozza, Chair of SSI’s Board of Directors. SSI is a not-for-profit organization designed to serve the students of WCU. SSI is committed to WCU students and stands ready to ensure that they have whatever they need to meet their academic goals. The objective of the corporation is to initiate, regulate, and operate the financial matters of the university’s co-curricular student activities.
Also contributing significantly to the building project is the West Chester University Alumni Association, which has generously donated $150,000.
“At a time when West Chester University enrolls more than 4,000 STEM majors, Marc and Maureen Duey; Student Services, Incorporated; and the West Chester University Alumni Association are investing in the next generation of WCU graduates who will enhance our region and our world as innovative engineers, nurses, nutritionists, physicists, public health professionals, and scientists,” said Fiorentino. “All of us are grateful to these generous benefactors who are creating new possibilities and great opportunities for an increasing number of WCU students who are dedicated to preparing themselves for high-performance careers that will make a considerable difference to many.”
About the Duey Centers for Science
As the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects a 23 percent growth in the number of biomedical jobs needed by 2024, The Sciences & Engineering Center and The Commons provides the perfect setting to launch the university’s first engineering major — biomedical engineering. By applying biology and science methodologies with engineering principals, students will be able to develop equipment, such as prosthetics, artificial organs, and imaging devices, as well as procedures that will ultimately help lessen a number of health problems found in populations around the globe.
Housed on the first floor, the Duey Biomedical Engineering Center will complement the nearby Duey Immersive Learning Center, where students training for careers in nursing and other healthcare-related fields will have the unique opportunity to master critical response training in a real-world hospital setting. The dynamic environment will feature technologically-advanced simulated patients or human-like robots that, with the touch of the instructor’s computer controls, experience cardiac arrest and a variety of other lifelike symptoms.
Students studying athletic training, psychology, social work, speech language pathology, and other disciplines will also be able to take advantage of simulated settings. Rooms will be designed to mimic patient exam rooms and home-care environments to allow students to become fully prepared to provide excellent care in a variety of professional surroundings. A modern nutrition lab will ensure that wellness and disease prevention are incorporated.
WCU’s enrollment growth created the need for improved and larger dining services, as well as expanded meeting space. The Commons wing will be a welcoming and modern environment for students to connect, eat, and work. In addition to the main dining hall, the Commons wing will include a ballroom, auditorium, and meeting rooms — facilities that are currently severely limited on campus. These additional spaces will allow faculty, students, and staff to host conferences, collaborative community events, and speaker presentations.