Dirt was flying today on the work site for the new College of Health Professions Building as its groundbreaking ceremony commenced. 

The 167,000-square-foot building in the new East Quad is set to be complete June 2019 according to Mitch Whaley, dean of the College of Health.

“Students have been spread out all over campus so we formed a new college,” Whaley said.  “In a couple of years our students in health fields will literally come together under this roof.”

The $62.5 million project will be used by nearly 7,000 students a year who President Geoffrey Mearns says can take their knowledge to help the Muncie community.

“This facility is not just about enhancing Ball State University, it’s about serving the health and wellness here in Muncie and Delaware County,” said Mearns in a speech before the groundbreaking.

The project, which has been in the works for the last three years, will include state of the art technology.

The facility will feature multiple simulation suites, exam rooms and an athletic training lab to provide students with hands-on experience. 

“The building will have sophisticated mannequins that will allow students to see how their decisions will affect patient care in a variety of situations,” Dean Whaley said. “They will have a safe place to see what happens when they make the right or wrong decision.”

Additionally, the new building will increase the number of students Ball State can educate, according to Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management.

“We can increase the number of students we bring into the nursing program by a 30% capacity,” Lowe said. “Now, we are turning away wonderful students. If I were a student I would love the opportunity to bridge between programs like nursing and social care. It makes students even more marketable.”

This building is just phase one of Ball State’s campus master plan, according to Lowe. The next step is to build a new science building and then reassess what will be done with Cooper Science Complex. 

Also in attendance at the groundbreaking were Rep. Tim Brown, Sen. Greg Taylor, Sen. Ryan Mishler, Rep. Bob Cherry and Indiana State Budget Director Jason Dudich.