AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University’s Nursing Program is moving from Canyon to downtown Amarillo.
The program will move to the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center.
WTAMU President Dr. Walter Wendler announced the relocation Tuesday at the Amarillo City Council meeting.
Dr. Dirk Nelson, the dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at WT, said the nursing program is growing quickly.
“We need some additional space. We think the opportunity to move to the Amarillo Center where there’s 25,000 square feet of space is a perfect opportunity for us, not only for the department of nursing but for the entire College of Nursing and Health Sciences,” said Dr. Nelson.
WT said about 250 undergraduate students and about 20 faculty members will make the move to the downtown campus.
Dr. Wendler said it will also shift some of the university’s economic impact from canyon to Amarillo.
“But we think that’s a positive move for everyone because it will liberate some space on the campus that we need, number one, number two, it will concentrate our academic presence in Amarillo and it’s a presence that the city does not have right now,” Dr. Wendler said.
Dr. Nelson told us nursing students will benefit from the move, being closer to the hospital district and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center where they collaborate with the SimCentral program. He said it will be beneficial for the community, too.
“Bringing nursing to Amarillo will have a lot of symbiosis in terms of primary health care that we will provide for our students and then, in turn, who many of whom will stay in the region,” said Dr. Nelson, “but also we think there’s an opportunity to provide preventive medicine services and I’m very much a proponent of that.”
According to WT, the School of Nursing will be able to better collaborate with other programs already at the downtown campus.
“The addition of nursing will provide essentially a full-service nucleus that can easily serve the Panhandle from right here in downtown Amarillo and this is a place that people from the communities, the outlying communities are used to coming so I think it just fits together very nicely,” Dr. Wendler added.
Dr. Wendler said the relocation was made possible by a $6 million investment. WT is borrowing those funds from the TAMU System under the leadership of Chancellor John Sharp.
The move to the downtown campus is projected for fall 2021.
The university said the move is in response to maxim nine aimed to foster locally responsive research and infrastructure as listed in the University’s generational plan WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.
School officials told us this also will help increase the number of registered nurses with a comprehensive master’s degree such as with family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.