Nursing School in State Budget

School of Nursing building

Schematic designs for the new School of Nursing learning center show a five-story building with a two-story north wing at the corner of Highland Avenue and Observatory Drive.

The State Building Commission approved plans Wednesday, March 16, to construct a new $52.2 million School of Nursing building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The project, the top campus building priority, was added to the governor’s proposed capital budget for 2011-2013.

“The nursing school will help us address the state’s shortage of nurses,” Governor Scott Walker said. “It will allow Wisconsin to train the next generation of health-care professionals so we can meet the needs of our citizens.”

The proposed budget provides funding in two stages. It would authorize construction using $17.4 million in gifts and grants and $17 million in funds shifted from the UW-Madison’s 2011-2013 maintenance budget. An additional $17 million taxpayer supported bonding would be dedicated to the project in the next biennium.

The Power of Nursing Campaign has already raised $14.1 million of the private dollars needed for construction.

“We are extremely grateful for everyone’s support of this project,” Dean Kathryn May said. “Our school has a proud tradition of educating nurse leaders who make a significant impact on the health and well- being of the state’s citizens. This new building will allow that tradition to continue.”

With legislative approval and successful fundraising, the School could break down this fall on the building that will make room for a 30 percent increase in enrollment and programming. With large interactive classrooms, the project paves the way for nursing, medicine, public health and pharmacy students to collaborate on virtual cases. Student nurses will learn patient care in simulated hospital and home environments, and wired classrooms will allow the School to better provide innovative onsite and distance instruction.

The School received schematic drawings February 25 for the learning center at the corner of Highland Avenue and Observatory Drive. “This building will create incredible space for our faculty to teach, our students to learn and for them to create the future of nursing in Wisconsin,” May said, adding the project will be a signature building for West campus.

Cap Times reporter Todd Finklemeyer writes more about why the governor, who originally did not include the nursing project in his 2011-2013 capital budget, reconsidered the project at The Capital Times.