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UACCM begins construction on monumental new nursing building



Little Rock, Arkansas — The newest expansion to the nursing program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) has begun construction.

By the fall of 2025, the college will open its $16 million Nursing and Science Center.

The 36,000-square-foot, two-story building will house seven scientific labs, classrooms, and study areas for students.

Arkansas Representative Rick Beck, President Donald R. Bobbit of the University of Arkansas System, Conway County Judge Jimmy Hart, Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer of Morrilton, and Representative French Hill’s district director all attended the groundbreaking event. Jeff Pitchford; Vicki Sexton, the Manager of Economic Development for West Central Arkansas Planning and Development Program; members of the Crafton Tull architectural team; Nabholz, the project’s contractor; and UACCM’s partners in the healthcare sector.

Bobbitt addressed the crowd on hand, saying, “This is a very ambitious project, but the board and system have no concerns or reservations because of the strong support this institution has in the community.”

Hart also touted the significance of community, saying, “What you see here today is the result of collaboration. People of this county and community are a big part of this. I love to see everybody working together because that is what makes our community what it is.”

According to UACCM, the new building, including its furnishings and equipment, costs about $16 million.
A $2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce initially served as the impetus for the center’s creation.

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a bond that UACCM received, with a maximum value of $12 million and a maximum term of 32 years, at an interest rate of no more than 5.5%.

The Arkansas Linking Industry to Growing initiative, which aims to increase the number of nurses in the workforce, produced an additional $2 million for the program from the State Commerce Department’s Office of Skills Development.

With the opening of the new nursing facility and the programs for Certified Medication Assistant, Medical Office Technology Assistant, and Medical Clinical Assistant, the nursing program is also expected to expand.

The expansion of UACCM’s nursing program is well-timed, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the nursing field will require over 275,000 additional nurses by 2030 and that employment possibilities in the field will rise at a rate of 9% faster than the average between 2016 and 2026.

The decline in the number of nurses can be attributed to a number of issues, such as inadequate staffing and a scarcity of nursing school instructors.

“This new facility will allow UACCM to update its simulation equipment and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to better equip its graduates to enter the workforce or transfer to other institutions,” said Willenberg.

Additionally, she thinks that enrollment in related programs, including the nursing degree, will more than double as a result of this new building.

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