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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU's Health and Social Services building opens

NMSU's Health and Social Services building opensNew Mexico State University's College of Health and Social Services celebrated the opening of its new 69,000-square-foot building today (Monday, March 8) in the center of campus.

New Mexico State University's College of Health and Social Services celebrated the opening of its new building today in the center of campus. On hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were, from left to right, Dean Jeffrey Brandon, and regents, Robert M. Ga

"Bringing our faculty and staff together in a single facility for the first time is creating interest and synergy for our efforts to promote greater interdisciplinary collaborations," said Dean Jeffrey Brandon. "We want to improve our ability to identify, understand and reduce health disparities in our border region."

The College of Health and Social Services offers five baccalaureate degrees and three master's degrees. More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in its programs. This spring, the college saw a 10.9 percent undergraduate enrollment increase, the largest increase in any of the university's colleges. It also saw a 25.2 percent increase in graduate enrollment.

The opening ceremony included a self-guided tour of the new facilities including state-of-the-art classrooms and research areas for the Department of Health Science, the Department of Nursing and the School of Social Work, nursing skill labs, a 1,400-square-foot Media and Resource Center and the college's first Research Center. More than 4,000 square feet of research space is available for collaborative research.

"Today is truly a day of celebration. We have before us a monument that is not only bringing the faculty from this college together, but also building on tradition," said Interim President William V. Flores.

The building was designed to incorporate the existing Memorial Tower. The tower, built in the 1950s as a memorial to Aggies who died during military service in World War II, was reinforced and the first level will be established as a study lounge and memorial to open later in 2004. The second level of the tower houses a 900-square-foot computer lab.

Plans for a new building began in 1992. Funding included $2 million in university funds, $5 million in general obligation bond revenues approved by voters in 2000 and about $1.9 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health and Social Services is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its formation as a college in 1979. Lowery Davis was the first dean when the College of Human and Community Services was established and the health science, nursing and social work departments moved from other areas of the university to be part of the new college. The college changed its name in 1995 under the leadership of its second dean Virginia C. Higbie. The college now has 45 full-time faculty and about 20 part-time faculty.

The grand opening also included the opening for the new College Canteen, located in the southwest corner of the new building. The College Canteen is a cooperative effort by the university and Aramark Corp. The Canteen will feature Aramark's Grille Works and Montagues's with menu items such as New Mexico-style breakfast burritos, English muffin breakfast sandwiches, fresh-sliced deli meats on freshly baked bread, garden-fresh wraps and homemade soups. It will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can seat 72 people.