By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Concordia University Texas is building a new, $19 million residence hall and recently unveiled its state-of-the-art Austin Nursing Satellite Campus to meet growing demands.
Concordia broke ground on its third residence hall on Feb. 5 and by August 2022, doors will be opened — bringing more college students to Four Points.
The 69,000-square-foot facility will allow the campus to house 510 students, nearly doubling the university’s housing capacity and eliminating the annual waitlist, according to Dan Gregory, vice president of administration at Concordia.
Current total enrollment at Concordia is 2,072 including undergrad, graduate, and doctoral students. There are two residence halls on the campus at 11400 Concordia University Dr. which traditionally house just under 300 students.
The new dorm’s location and design were developed in accordance with environmental guidelines that protect the adjacent nature preserve, which is located alongside the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.
“Students today are really focused on why they’re at college — to study, earn a good degree and get a good job when they leave,” explained Dan Gregory, vice president of administration. “They’re looking for places (to live) that support that, and Concordia provides it by creating spaces where life-changing experiences occur through learning, relationships, and growth.”
Construction on the four-story dorm developed by American Campus Communities began earlier this month by Davis Brothers Construction. STG Design served as the architectural firm.
Every floor will feature study lounges and collaborative learning spaces equipped with technology. Large, open common areas will also provide students with a place to connect.
An outdoor amphitheater will provide a space for university events and gatherings as well as study, relaxation, and socializing.
This week on Feb. 9, Concordia hosted a virtual grand opening of its Austin Nursing Satellite Campus, the newest offering from its College of Health Sciences. The new nursing facility is located off of the main campus, near the intersection of US 183 and Loop 360 in Northwest Austin.
After welcoming 288 new students in the fall, Concordia’s 2020-21 nursing enrollment is the largest it has ever been in the program’s history, according to Concordia officials.
In August 2020, under many COVID constraints, the university opened the doors to its Austin Nursing Satellite Campus. The new, interactive learning environment spans 17,000-square-feet, complete with a cutting-edge simulation lab, a 10-bed clinical skills lab and simulation debriefing rooms. The building also houses a student lounge and administrative and faculty offices.
“Our accelerated nursing (ABSN) students can earn their degree in 16 months by leveraging their college credits in non-nursing fields,” said Donald Christian, the university’s president and chief executive officer. “There is significant need for nurses, and this is a way to send quality, trained individuals into the community quickly.”
Concordia’s 2020-21 nursing enrollment in both the ABSN and traditional tracks is the largest since its highly-ranked program began in 2011.
Texas ranks second only to California among states hardest hit by the nursing shortage, according to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. By 2030, the number of unfilled registered nurse positions will swell to nearly 60,000, based on projections by the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies.
In Central Texas, the demand for nurses is particularly high: the area will need an estimated 2,568 registered nurses by 2022 to serve a growing and aging population, and replace retiring baby boomers.
“And, that number is expected to grow to 7,459 full-time equivalent positions in the next 10 years,” said Amber Shammas, senior director of the university’s new College of Health Sciences.
Another consideration is the global pandemic, which has prompted a greater need than ever for nurses despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s waiver allowing retired nurses, those with inactive licenses and certain students in their final year of nursing school to practice medicine.
“The pandemic proved what many of us already know: that nurses are the heroes of America’s healthcare system,” Shammas said. “Concordia’s purpose-driven programs allow students to train for what promises to be a rewarding and noble profession.”