Originally published in The South Dakotan.
Open to the public, the ceremony will take place outside in the south courtyard between the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science and the School of Health Sciences buildings. The press is invited to attend.
Work on the 45,000 square-foot building began in April 2021. The first floor of the new building houses the Delta Dental Oral Health Center, which was named in honor of a $1 million gift from the Delta Dental of South Dakota Foundation. The clinic’s services are open to the public.
Additional building highlights include technology-enhanced active learning classrooms, health sciences laboratories, simulation rooms, student collaboration and study space, and shared faculty and staff workplace.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the grand opening of new School of Health Sciences building with our community members, industry partners and supporters,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “This state-of-the-art building will be the catalyst for health sciences students as they learn and develop into the next generation of health care professionals. In the past, we’ve had to turn away qualified applicants because our facilities could not accommodate larger class sizes. This new facility will provide an opportunity to increase enrollment and produce health care professionals in many of the state’s high-need areas.”
The building supports the academic, research and service mission of eight of USD’s fastest growing majors in health professional disciplines, including dental hygiene, nursing, social work, addiction counseling and prevention, medical laboratory science, physician assistant studies, public health and health sciences. Housing these programs together allows students to collaborate in the type of real-life environments they will encounter in modern hospitals and clinics across South Dakota.
Attached to the Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science building, the new School of Health Sciences building also provides more opportunities for health sciences and medical students to work together.
“With the state’s only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school, it is important we prepare our students to learn, study and practice together as a coordinated team,” said Haifa Abou Samra, Ph.D., School of Health Sciences dean. “Now our students can do that in a new facility that was designed to support this team-based approach to health care. We are dedicated to preparing our students for the rapidly changing landscape of health care.”
Over the last decade, 4,400 people have earned degrees from the USD School of Health Sciences, with 63% living and/or working in South Dakota. With nine health education-focused departments, 22 programs, two dental hygiene clinics and two significant public service centers, the School of Health Sciences is the largest and most comprehensive source of teaching and clinical preparation of health care in South Dakota. Many of USD’s health care programs are unique to South Dakota and are only offered at USD.
“Through the support and vision of our legislature, the South Dakota Board of Regents, Delta Dental of South Dakota Foundation, USD faculty and staff, and countless others, we have built a comprehensive health sciences school at USD that is focused on its students and serving the state of South Dakota and beyond,” said Gestring.