By Jeffrey SwaimPosted Jan. 16, 2018 at 5:03 p.m.
BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University has received a $5 million grant from The Leon Levine Foundation of Charlotte. In recognition of their generosity, Appalachian’s Board of Trustees in December approved naming the university’s newest facility — currently under construction — the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. The building will house Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS).
Referencing the state’s growing health care needs, Chancellor Sheri Everts emphasized the importance the facility will play in increasing the health care workforce. “Health education is a longstanding priority for Appalachian. This new facility will expand our opportunities for education and outreach, and over the course of their careers as health professionals, our graduates will have immeasurable impact on the lives of others. Leon Levine’s investment in our students will elevate the future of health care in our state,” she said.
Nearly 3,500 students are enrolled in the BCHS, which offers 10 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs. Courses of study are organized into six departments: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Health and Exercise Science; Nursing; Nutrition and Health Care Management; Recreation Management and Physical Education; and Social Work.
Dr. Marie Huff, dean of the BCHS, said the new building was designed to promote and enhance learning opportunities for students, faculty and community members. “Moving five of our six departments into one building enables us to leverage the new collaborative learning spaces, enhanced research laboratories and a developing interprofessional clinic to empower students from different disciplines to learn and practice together,” she said. “Our intent is to foster a collaborative, patient-centered practice model resulting in better health care services for future patients and their families.”
Located at the intersection of Deerfield Road and State Farm Road, the 203,000-square-foot building will open for the fall 2018 semester on a 9.2-acre site donated by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. The project is designed by architects LS3P Associates Ltd., and Rodgers Builders Inc. is the lead contractor.
Appalachian’s first major building located off the main campus, this structure was planned to be an integral part of the community. Its location will provide easy access and parking for community members, who will be drawn to lectures, community meetings and health fairs, as well as the college’s interprofessional clinic.
Leon Levine is the founder of Family Dollar Stores Inc. and has built The Leon Levine Foundation into one of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations. Health care is one of the foundation’s key areas of support. According to the foundation’s website, Levine “wants to ensure that as many people have access to care as possible so that individuals can lead productive lives and spend more time with their loved ones.”
Levine acknowledged Appalachian’s long-standing history of transforming lives through education. “Appalachian is an admired university committed to empowering its students. My wife, Sandra, and I are proud to support Appalachian’s growing college of health sciences and, most importantly, the promising students committed to caring for the health needs of others.”
The new building was partially financed by the Connect NC Bond package and is slated to be the first UNC System building funded by that bond package to be completed.