PIKEVILLE – Nearly 50,000 cubic yards of rock and soil have been removed and the landscape is changing as construction continues on the University of Pikeville’s new Health Professions Educational Facility.
Adjacent to Record Memorial Building, the facility is part of the university’s strategic efforts to increase educational opportunities for students, stimulate economic development and improve comprehensive health care needs in Central Appalachia.
The 103,000-square-foot building will house the Kentucky College of Optometry, which plans to welcome its first class in 2016. Technology and clinical training aspects of the facility will also enhance the learning experience for students in the Elizabeth Akers Elliott School of Nursing, a program initially founded in the early 1980s to meet the needs of nursing education and health care in the region. The RN to BSN program, added in 2011, leads to a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing.
Once the construction dust settles, student life also gets a boost, as the building will house a food court featuring major brands Chick-fil-A, Einstein Bros Bagels and P.O.D. Market (provisions on demand), a corner-store-meets-convenience-store offering fresh produce, bakery and other items.
Last September, USDA Rural Development Acting Under Secretary Doug O’Brien announced a $40 million Community Facilities partnership with the university to construct the new facility.
“Comprehensive investments in health care and education have a tremendous impact on regional economies like Eastern Kentucky,” O’Brien said at the time. “We are making these strategic investments now to have a positive impact on Kentucky’s future.”