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The Suburbanite
  • Medical science, fine arts programs getting new space at Mount Union

  • The University of Mount Union is positioning itself to enhance its medical science education and fine arts offerings with two multimillion-dollar construction projects.
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  • The University of Mount Union is positioning itself to enhance its medical science education and fine arts offerings with two multimillion-dollar construction projects.
    Gallaher Hall, the project expected to be finished first, is a four-level academic hall under construction in the 1800-block of S. Union Avenue.
    "It is approximately $12.5 million," said Patrick Heddleston, vice president for business affairs at the university. "We will have three departments in there. Those would be physician assistant studies, nursing and the third is physical therapy. It will connected to our existing Bracy Hall."
    Bracy Hall, which opened a decade ago, houses Mount Union's science education division. An above-ground walkway will connect Bracy with Gallaher Hall.
    "The facade of the building is kind of mimicking Bracy Hall so that they are married," said Derrick Semilia of Hammond Construction, which is managing construction for both projects. "The brick veneer is similar colors."
    Inside the 40,000-square-foot Gallaher Hall will be 30 offices and 15 classrooms and laboratories. There will be three floors and a basement.
    Work on Gallaher continues to progress.
    "Within a couple of weeks we will have all the glass and all the masonry finished," said Blaine Lewis, Mount Union director of physical plant.
    The third floor is where Mount Union officials plan to house the new doctor of physical therapy program, scheduled to begin in 2015.
    Nursing education will be on the second story while the master's degree in physician assistance studies is slated for the first level.
    The aim is to meet needs in the medical fields.
    "The University of Mount Union looks at five criteria when seeking to develop new programs," Patricia Draves, vice president for academic affairs at the university, said in a written statement. "New programs must be compatible with the mission of the university; there must be a market for the program both in bringing in qualified students who are academically prepared for success as well as ensuring that when students leave they're likely to find meaningful work; they must be fiscally responsible and they must be sustainable.
    "Our faculty members continue to develop a dynamic, high-quality curriculum for Mount Union students along with the campus community... "
    Clearing space for Gallaher Hall involved razing Mount Union Theatre.
    University of Mount Union has an enrollment of 2,096 undergraduates and 91 graduate students.
    SECOND PROJECT
    On the north side of campus in the first block of W. Simpson Street Mount Union is in the opening phases of constructing a 30,000-square-foot performing arts hall. The new performing arts facility will be part of the university's Performing Arts Center.
    "We took down our former theater," Heddleston said. "The whole building didn't come down, just the performing arts part of it. The theater building is a replacement of a building that was probably 60 years old. It just didn't meet the needs of today's students."
    Page 2 of 2 - The former performing arts facility was known as Rodman Playhouse. Mount Union officials have yet to select a name for the new hall.
    "It is a balcony and a full first floor," Heddleston said. "It is around $13 million. We are shooting for December of 2014 for completion. It will really enhance our offering in the arts."
    The new performing arts hall will sit on the west side of the university's Performing Arts Center. Seating capacity will be 450.
    "It is a main theater house," Lewis said. "It is state-of-the-art acoustically significant performance space. It is a more expensive type of construction. It is for the theater, and vocal and instrumental music."
    Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305
    On Twitter: mhallREP