New funding helps St. Mary’s University move forward with vision for new innovation center

New innovation center will have 7 new labs for engineering, computing and other studies

Construction is underway for a new innovation center at St. Mary’s University that will support advanced manufacturing, engineering, computing and it will house a new nursing program.

“This is a dream come true. We have been talking about starting a nursing program for five or six years and we will have a great facility, with great equipment,” Tom Mengler, St. Mary’s University President said.

On the third floor of the Blank Sheppard Innovation Center will be the home to a Bachelor of Science nursing program.

“In 2032, we will be short 50,000 nurses in the State of Texas, so St. Mary’s University will make an important contribution to addressing that desperate need for healthcare in Texas,” Mengler said.

The center broke ground in October of last year.

University student Arlene Chaidez believes it will be a great addition to the campus.

“I know a lot of people that want to go into nursing with a biology bachelor’s and this gives them the opportunity to go directly into nursing without having to waste so much time,” Chaidez said.

Mengler said they will receive more than $5.5 million in federal funding.

“We’re estimating that the cost will be about $18 and a half million dollars,” Mengler said.

The university has also set up a live web cam, focused on the construction site where you can keep up with the project.

The first two floors will have seven laboratories and student gathering spaces.

“It will be focused almost entirely on promoting advanced manufacturing. There will be a laboratory on robotics, one on data science. There will be a laboratory on entrepreneurship,” Mengler said.

The building is expected to be complete by 2024.

About the Authors

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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