STEPHENVILLE — A new facility on Tarleton State’s Stephenville campus will position the university to fill critical career gaps in regional healthcare and set it apart as one of the nation’s top health-related training institutions.
Texas A&M System Board of Regents approved construction of the $80 million Health Professions Building (new home for the College of Health Sciences adjacent to the School of Nursing), with move-in planned for summer 2025.
“When more than 40 percent of the community hospitals in Texas are vulnerable to closure, rural healthcare matters,” said Tarleton State President James Hurley. “As a national comprehensive public university, we have a moral responsibility to enhance access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.”
The National Rural Health Association reports that more than 50 million Americans live in rural communities. The patient-physician ratio in Stephenville alone is 1,779 to 1.
Tarleton strategically realigned its College of Health Sciences two years ago to help rural residents enjoy longer, healthier and more productive lives by preparing top-shelf healthcare practitioners.
“The opportunities to extend Tarleton State’s footprint as a leader in rural healthcare are limitless,” said Dr. Ramona Parker, Executive Dean and Associate Vice President for the College of Health Sciences. “To this end, we will graduate practice-ready professionals poised to promote wellness and address access to quality care in the communities we serve.”
At 92,000 square feet, the new Health Professions Building will include specialized laboratory space and public clinics for students to gain true-to-profession experience in three new degree programs — physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant studies. Programs in kinesiology, nutrition science, social work, public health, athletic training, and communication sciences and disorders are already in place. Together they will prepare graduates to provide interprofessional evidence-based healthcare and advance world-class health-related innovations.
The 87th Legislature in 2021 authorized $90 million in CCAP funding for Tarleton State — the majority earmarked to construct the Health Professions Building. A&M System regents added $15 million the next spring.
An extra $2 million appropriation from the 87th Legislature went to develop Tarleton’s new healthcare degree options, and $25 million more is helping expand the university’s Fort Worth campus along Chisholm Trail Parkway. A second facility there, the $66 million Interprofessional Education Building, opens in fall 2024 and will propel the school’s nationally recognized health sciences and education programs.
Additionally, Tarleton received another $5 million exceptional item in the most recent 88th Legislature for rural healthcare programs. Tarleton’s future as the leader in regional rural healthcare is secure with a total of $7 million from the last two sessions.
“Thanks to the vigorous support of the Texas Legislature, the A&M System Board of Regents and Chancellor John Sharp, we’re boosting quality of life through life-changing education,” Dr. Hurley said. “We are extremely grateful for the continued investment into the growth of Tarleton State University.”