The VCU Board of Visitors approved budgets for three new university projects to expand the Allied Health Professions, School of Engineering and Rice Rivers Center.
The university will finance $10.8 million of the total $87.3 million budget for the new building; $5.6 million is allocated to expanding the research capabilities of the School of Engineering.
“We’ve paid our dues and Dr. Rao has seen that we deserve better and he has gone out of his way to speak to all the legislative people possible,” said Cecil Drain, dean of the Allied Health Professions at VCU. “I think he, more than anybody else, had everything to do with us getting a new building.”
The building will reside on E. Leigh and 10th Street, where the low-rise dormitories are currently located.
The 155,000 gross square foot Allied Health Professions building will start construction within the next month.
“We have a very diverse number of programs, and because of that diversity we are able to bring that all together for better patient care,” Drain said, “It’s strength through diversity.”
Drain explained the department has occupied as many as 13 different buildings at one time. Currently, the Allied Health Profession is housed in five buildings, including some on the Monroe Park Campus.
Drain said it’s important to finally bring all those programs together under one roof.
The structure is scheduled to finish construction in fall 2019, which will mark 50 years of the Allied Health Professions at VCU.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the BOV also approved increasing the budget to build overnight facilities for the Rice Rivers Center, VCU’s environmental research station located in Charles City County.
The Inger Rice Lodge will house between 25 and 30 visitors and researchers at the Rice Rivers Center.
The lodge will cost approximately $2.3 million, of which $93,000 is university funds and the remainder is private gifts and the Rice Center Wetlands Easement Account.
In addition to building approvals, VCU purchased the Evergreen Chinese Restaurant on at 612 W. Grace Street this past week.
VCU paid $2 million for 0.2 acres that was assessed at $562,000. Plans for the new property have not been announced.
Mary Lee Clark
Mary Lee is a senior studying journalism. She currently interns for RVAmag and GayRVA.com, in addition to writing for the CT. She previously worked as a makeup artist at Darkwood Manor, did lighting design at Trackside Theater (where she is now on the Board of Directors) and photographed for the Page News and Courier.
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