By SALLY SEXTON
Construction crews are in high swing as the completion date for Weatherford College’s new Don Allen Allied Health Building nears.
WC vice president of institutional advancement Brent Baker said the 31,000-square-foot structure will be completed by May 9, in time for summer classes.
With continued growth in its health programs, Weatherford College began construction last summer with Steele & Freeman. Programs to be housed in the new building include associate degree nursing, licensed vocational nursing, sonography, respiratory therapy, radiology technician and phlebotomy.
“We do have an allied health building already here on campus but we’ve just outgrown it,” Baker said. “The programs have been spread out over 40-year-old buildings and we’ve added a lot of new allied health programs over the years.
“It’s a great field.”
Other allied health programs, including occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy assistant, are housed in Mineral Wells.
At a turnkey cost of $6 million, the new health building is scheduled to be completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
“Most of the funding for the building comes from our reserve fund that had built up over time,” Baker said. “Only about $400,000 came from our capital campaign.
“It’s nice not to have to go to the taxpayers [for funding] and our leadership here at the college has done a great job of being conservative enough and allowed us to do something that we needed to do.”
Some highlights of the new structure include a simulation lab, complete with “hospital beds” with simulated mannequins and a control room, where instructors can program the different mannequins to exhibit specific types of symptoms or conditions. Grant funding was responsible for much of that.
Other perks include a student lounge on the second floor complete with couches, chairs and a coffee bar, lecture halls, a radiology and X-ray lab and media lab with computer software specific to disciplines of certain programs.
In July, Weatherford College board trustees voted to name the building after board member Don Allen, following a request from Jerry Durant, whose Jerry Durant Auto Group committed $400,000 to the capital campaign.