By Jesse Wood
Construction of the Beaver College of Health Sciences is on schedule as crews work through a “fairly mild” winter, according to Mike O’Connor, physical plant director at Appalachian State University.
Construction of the 203,000-square-foot building began last summer. The building site is located adjacent to the Watauga Medical Center on a 10-acre tract that the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System donated to the university.
Rodgers is the contractor, and LS3P is the architect. The university held a ceremonial ground breaking in June.
“The project is on schedule. It’s kind of interesting. We are bouncing so many things around. We’re ahead of schedule on steel construction and slightly behind on bringing the fill up to grade,” O’Connor said. “But that’s to be expected with the wet conditions we’ve had.”
O’Connor added that while the foundation is complete, they don’t want to fill up to grade with wet dirt. As for the steel construction, O’Connor noted that the steel is being installed in three sections with each section tied together. Crews are currently finishing up the first section of steel installation.
Speaking of the progress made during this mild winter, O’Connor said, “If this weather keeps up the way it is, everybody will be blessed.”
The Beaver College of Health Sciences building is a $70-million project, which is funded as part of the $2 billion Connect NC Public Improvement Bond that voters approved during the 2016 primary.
University officials expect the college to be ready for occupancy for the 2018 fall semester – and once that happens, more than 100,000 square feet of conditioned space will open up on campus. This is because the college of health sciences program is currently spread across seven different App State buildings.
The college is named after Donald C. Beaver of Conover. Beaver is a graduate of App State and worked at Watauga Hospital – before it was named Watauga Medical Center. He is currently president and CEO of Universal Health Care.
Only six years old, the Beaver College of Health Sciences is already the second largest college at Appalachian State University, having already doubled in size. Currently, the college serves 3,300 students and employs 160 faculty and staff.
According to info provided by the university, Beaver College has 10 undergraduate and five graduate degree programs in the areas of exercise science, nursing, communication sciences and disorders, nutrition, health care management, social work, athletic training, recreation management, health and physical education and health promotion.
Most recently, Beaver College was also approved to begin a Master of Science in Nursing degree and an online Master of Health Administration degree program.