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May 31, 2017 News
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University of Houston-Clear Lake Pearland Campus broke ground on a three-story, $24.6 million Health Sciences and Classroom Building that will allow expansion of programs in nursing and other healthcare careers. Scheduled to open spring 2019, the facility will eventually include a satellite operation of UHCL’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
Construction was made possible by a bill passed in the 2015 Texas Legislature, championed by state Sen. Larry Taylor and state Rep. Ed Thompson with support from Pearland Mayor Tom Reid, the Pearland Chamber of Commerce and Pearland Economic Development Corporation.
“This is really quite an accomplishment for the City of Pearland and for the University of Houston-Clear Lake,” Taylor said at the April 28 groundbreaking ceremony. “You are doing great things for our community.”
Taylor cited the necessity for more trained healthcare workers. Nationwide, healthcare jobs are expected to grow 26 percent to 35 percent by 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, making it the fastest-growing employment segment.
“You already know they (the healthcare industry) need the jobs today. This need will continue on into the foreseeable future. So what you’re doing is exactly what our community needs, added Taylor.
Through its partnership with the city, UHCL opened UHCL Pearland Campus in fall 2010. In 2011, the Texas Legislature allowed UHCL to transition from an upper-level to a four-year university. The first freshmen and sophomores enrolled in fall 2014.
UHCL interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost A. Glen Houston served as the groundbreaking event’s master of ceremonies. He disclosed that Alvin Community College, which has been a partner since UHCL opened in 1974, will begin offering undergraduate classes at UHCL Pearland Campus in the fall.
“There are so many great opportunities in this area and this adds to the opportunities we’re going to have for young people,” Thompson said. “This will be the first four-year university for Brazoria County. We’ll have students who will be able to come here and get their degrees, not have to leave home and receive an affordable education. And that is very, very exciting to me.”
Mayor Reid told local dignitaries that the city and the university should continue looking ahead to the future of their partnership.
“Let’s look 20 years from now. We may need a lot more land, so we want to be careful how we handle the land adjacent to this particular facility. There may be something very big booming here,” he said.
The new facility will include simulated hospital rooms, a nurses’ station and a pharmacy station for hands-on training, a 100-seat tiered lecture hall, large classrooms, a conference room, chemistry and biology laboratories, 19 faculty offices and private study rooms and common study areas.
“The construction of this new building demonstrates our dedication to human life and the commitment to educate nurses; to raise the bar of excellence to the delivery of patient care,” said Karen Alexander, assistant professor of nursing and director of the RN-to-BSN Program at UHCL Pearland Campus. “Additionally, it will allow us to expand our program and to continue to build community, education and healthcare partnerships. We hope that our simulation lab, our expertise and our talents will serve not only our students but the communities and our partners.”
Jennifer Fritz is assistant professor of Behavior Analysis and director of the Severe Behavior Disorders Research Clinic at UHCL’s Center for Autism and Development Disabilities, or CADD. She is also a Pearland resident.
“We’re very happy to have this opportunity to expand programs in Pearland,” she said. “We know this is going to be a tremendous asset for training our students to be competent therapists when they graduate. We also hope that this will give back to the community.”
For more information about UHCL Pearland Campus, visit www.uhcl.edu/pearland.
University of Houston-Clear Lake offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and three doctoral programs, from its four colleges, formerly known as schools, which include the College of Business, College of Education, College of Human Sciences and Humanities, and College of Science and Engineering. In 2011, the university gained approval from the state to add freshman- and sophomore-level courses to its roster and welcomed its first freshman class in fall 2014. For more information about the university, visit http://www.uhcl.edu.
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