UACCM Breaks Ground on Nursing and Science Center

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) broke ground for the new $16 million Nursing and Science Center on Friday. 

The two-story, 36,000 square-foot Nursing and Science Center will be located southwest of Technology Building II on the UACCM campus and will feature seven science labs and classrooms, ten nursing labs and classrooms, and two student lounges for studying. 

In attendance for the groundbreaking was Arkansas Rep. Rick Beck, University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt, Conway County Judge Jimmy Hart, Morrilton Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer, District Director for Rep. French Hill Jeff Pitchford, West Central Arkansas Planning and Development Program Manager of Economic Development Vicki Sexton, as well as several individuals from Crafton Tull, the architect for the project, Nabholz, the contractor for the project, and UACCM’s healthcare industry partners. 

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.” 

UACCM Chancellor Lisa Willenberg and Lipsmeyer also delivered messages to the crowd, stressing the importance of community collaboration for the project. 

The Nursing and Science Center, including equipment and furniture, is valued at approximately $16 million.

In July 2022, UACCM received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for site development of the new Nursing and Science Center. 

In April, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a bond of no more than $12 million with a maximum of 32 years at an annual interest rate of no more than 5.5%, as previously approved by the UA System trustees. 

Earlier this month, UACCM was awarded a $2 million grant from the state Commerce Department’s Office of Skills Development as part of the Arkansas Linking Industry to Growing Nurses (ALIGN) program. 

The addition of the Nursing and Science Center will provide space for multiple new programs, including Certified Medication Assistant, Medical Office Technology Assistant, and Medical Clinical Assistant, with the possibility of more programs being added in the future. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed by 2030, and that employment opportunities will grow 9% faster than all other occupations from 2016 to 2026. 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing believes that several factors are contributing to the nursing shortage, including a shortage of nursing school faculty that restricts enrollment. 

Additionally, more nurses are leaving the profession due to insufficient staffing, which is raising stress levels and affecting job satisfaction. 

“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. 

Willenberg also said that she believes the new building can eventually double enrollment in nursing and similar programs. The Nursing and Science Center is expected to open in the fall of 2025. 


Popular posts from this blog


UACCM Announces Fall '23 Chancellor's and Dean's List