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VCU School of Allied Health Professions celebrates completion of major construction milestone


Topping out ceremony marks placement of the highest steel beam on the school’s new facility

By Anne Dreyfuss
University Public Affairs
(804) 828-7701

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions on Monday “topped out” its new building, marking the placement of the highest steel beam on the building’s eight-story structural frame.

VCU School of Allied Health Professions Dean Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D., celebrates signing the beam at the topping out ceremony. Drain has served as dean of the school for 20 years and has made it a personal mission to unite the school's units under one roof. “It has been a long road to get here and it is finally happening, so it’s a joyous time,” said Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D., dean of the School of Allied Health Professions. In his 20 years as dean, Drain has made it a personal mission to unite the school’s programs, which have occupied as many as 13 buildings in the past 45 years and are currently scattered among five buildings on two campuses.

The new 154,000-square-foot facility will, for the first time, centralize all 11 of the school’s academic units.

“Now you have a building that reflects the quality of work that you do, and that has been a long time coming,” said Marsha Rappley, M.D., CEO of VCU Health System and VCU vice president of health sciences. Rappley commended the more than 60 faculty, staff, alumni and community members in attendance for their contributions to the school’s successful national rankings.

MCV Foundation board of trustees chair Harry Thalhimer signs the School of Allied Health Professions beam on Monday morning.
MCV Foundation board of trustees chair Harry Thalhimer signs the School of Allied Health Professions beam on Monday morning. "It is unbelievable how quickly this building has gone up," Thalhimer said. "It marks the beginning of the transformation of this outstanding campus."

Programs housed in the School of Allied Health Professions consistently rank among the best in the country. In March, U.S. News & World Report named the Department of Nurse Anesthesia’s graduate program as No. 1 in the country. The publication also ranked the school’s Department of Health Administration in the top three among its peers. Overall, five programs in the school are ranked by the publication in the top 20.

“This building will be state-of-the-art, as it should be because the academic programs are state-of-the-art,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System.

The LEED Silver-designed building will be L-shaped, with a west-facing eight-story wing and a south-facing four-story wing. Each of the building’s eight floors will feature formal and informal spaces designed to promote interprofessional education and collaboration. The building will also feature cutting-edge learning laboratories for human simulation, diagnostic technology, rehabilitation and counseling education. Flexible classrooms will promote student engagement and foster distance-learning opportunities.

“This new building will be an amazing learning lab for VCU’s skilled faculty and staff,” said Harry Thalhimer, chair of the MCV Foundation’s board of trustees. “The new facilities will add to the improved footprint of VCU Health, putting us on the path to becoming the premier academic health center on the East Coast and beyond.”

New VCU School of Allied Health Topping

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 220 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit www.vcu.edu and vcuhealth.org.