Texas Woman's University Opens New Houston Campus

Texas Woman's University is opening a new Houston campus. The Institute of Health Sciences-Houston will allow the university to double enrollment in their nursing and healthcare programs. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Texas Woman's University has been in Houston for 40 years, but the new facility which opened this week gives students an actual campus with room to grow. The Institute is located on the corner of Fannin and Holcombe, on a piece of land previously owned by Methodist Hospital. TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart says a unique land swap provided the space to build this facility.

"Methodist's strategic plan called for expansion, TWU's old campus was on contiguous land, TWU needed a new campus with neither the funds to build nor the land to build on and therein lay an opportunity that clearly presented a win-win for both parties."

The $37 million 10-story facility was designed to provide a seamless transition from the classroom to the workplace. Labs and training spaces are built to look like mock hospital units. TWU is a public university, but this facility was built with private funds. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chair Robert Shepherd says TWU has gifted the fully-funded facility back to the State of Texas.

"It was one of the more unusual projects that we see, and the reason is we're hardly ever approached with a project where they don't have public money. So the fact that you have very generous donors who were willing to step forward and provide the resources and then turn this over to the State of Texas is a major accomplishment."

The Institute will provide space to double local enrollment numbers. State Representative Geanie Morrison says, who chairs the House Higher Education Committee, says this will help address the nursing shortage.

"In recent years, Texas, like many states, has experienced a well publicized nursing shortage. And the federal government is projecting a shortfall of one million nurses by the year 2012."

Morrison says at a time when nursing programs need to be increasing enrollment, most are turning qualified candidates away because of lack of space and funding. TWU plans to increase enrollment at the Houston campus to 3,000 students. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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