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TWU Home > Marketing & Communication > News Releases

TWU celebrates opening of new Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center



HOUSTON — Texas Woman’s University ushered in a new era of providing quality healthcare professionals to Texas when it celebrated the grand opening of the new TWU Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center Nov. 9.

“This new star in the state’s educational facilities is central to TWU’s intention to increase enrollment, maintain the quality of both students and programs and be an aggressive partner in the state’s goal of adding to the number of students who graduate from our public institutions,” TWU Chancellor and President Dr. Ann Stuart said at the opening ceremony.

The new Houston Center is a 10-story, 202,000-square-foot “campus in one building” located at 6700 Fannin Street, at the southern gateway of Houston’s renowned Texas Medical Center. The building was funded at no cost to the state through an innovative public/private partnership with the Houston philanthropic community.

“We are hardly ever approached about a project without a request for public money,” said Robert Shepard, chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “The fact that generous donors provided the resources for this building is a major accomplishment for the university and Chancellor Stuart.”
So far TWU has raised nearly $40 million in construction and programming costs for the new Houston Center. Major donors to the Houston campaign include: The Methodist Hospital System, the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., The Cullen Trust for Health Care, The Cullen Trust for Higher Education, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, The Fondren Foundation, the T.L.L. Temple Foundation Inc., The Brown Foundation Inc. and The Cullen Foundation.

The Houston Center was designed by Kirksey Architects and built by Vaughn Construction, both of Houston, and will serve the university for the next 75 to 100 years.

“The facility is one of the ‘smartest’ buildings ever constructed in higher education, incorporating forward-thinking concepts in building, environmental and instructional technology,” said Harold Johnson, associate vice president of facilities management and construction for TWU.
Critical building systems, such as the elevators and HVAC system, are controlled remotely from Denton. The facility also is environmentally friendly due to the use of natural and recycled materials and “smart design” sun shading devices. Natural light also is prevalent with daylight views from the corner glass tower facing Holcombe Boulevard and Fannin Street that allow sunlight to blanket two-story student lounges.

Classrooms are located on every academic floor of the building, which also includes several 120-seat lecture halls and a 250-seat lecture hall. Seminar rooms were designed for traditional instruction, conferences, video conferencing and distance learning.

Instruction stations are equipped with high-resolution display screens, high quality audio and voice reproduction, DVD and VHS video, high speed Internet and intuitive touch panel control components. Nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy laboratories are equipped with the latest healthcare technology available, including human patient simulator mannequins and rehabilitation equipment, in order to create a seamless transition from the classroom to the workplace.

The building’s décor also features more than 30 original art pieces created by TWU students, alumni and faculty.
In spring 2007, the university will open the Memorial Hermann and TWU Center for Telenursing and Health Informatics. The Telenursing Center builds upon an already existing collaboration between Memorial Hermann and TWU in the education of nurses for telemedicine and patient care.

More than 1,300 students majoring in nursing, physical therapy, library science, healthcare administration, occupational therapy and nutrition began classes at the TWU Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center in August 2006. The new Houston Center will allow TWU eventually to more than double its Houston enrollment.

“By housing nursing, occupational and physical therapy, healthcare administration and nutrition all under one roof, TWU’s Houston Center will meet the healthcare industry’s demand for a multidisciplinary approach in patient care,” said Dr. Therese Bartholomew Bevers, M.D., chair and presiding officer of the TWU Board of Regents.

TWU began operating in Houston in 1960 by expanding its nursing program to the Texas Medical Center. Construction of the new center was driven by changes in healthcare education and the need to expand to meet enrollment needs. TWU-Houston’s enrollment increased more than 50 percent from fall 1999 to fall 2004, straining the existing facilities.

“I commend the university and Dr. Stuart for entrepreneurial spirit behind this new educational facility,” State Representative Geanie Morrison, chair of the House Higher Education Committee, said. “TWU has raised the bar for all of Texas with a new institute that will dramatically increase enrollment in the areas that are needed most.”


For Further Information Contact:

Amanda McKeen Simpson
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: asimpson1@twu.edu

Page last updated January 22, 2009

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