Webber International University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on April 10th to mark the start of construction of their new Health Sciences Center.
The first phase of the Center will be home to the University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), which had already admitted their student cohorts for their programs. The University began planning the state-of-the-art facility in 2019 and now is set to launch the construction with a completion date of August 2023.
Through these programs, Webber International University is looking to serve the community by filling the need for quality healthcare professionals by providing post-secondary education to the region of Southeast Polk County and beyond. According to Employ Florida, by 2028, Polk County will have 4,788 registered nursing positions open, an increased demand of 1.25% . OTA practitioners will have an increased demand of 3.25%.
The ceremony included Mr. Jay Culver, Senior Vice President of Operations, Dr. Nelson Marquez, Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and Dean for the College of Health Professions and Sciences, Mr. Joe Strickler, Board of Trustees Chair, and Mr. Leo Alvarado, owner of Leo Construction, the contractors for the project.
Senior VP of Operations Mr. Jay Culver stated “A few years ago, Webber identified the need and launched our Nursing and Occupational Therapy Programs. Today we celebrate the next step in addressing the workforce’s needs with this groundbreaking ceremony.”
On a local scale, Webber’s Health Sciences programs serve the community in need of qualified trained nurses and OTAs. It is providing access to healthcare education in Southeast Polk County that would otherwise be limited to residents in the area.
“This is another opportunity for us to not only help our local community but to help our students enter the workforce with meaningful careers,” said Culver.
The programs’ respective accrediting /oversight organizations have approved Webber to admit up to thirty-six (36) nursing students and twenty-four (24) OTA students per cohort. This will enable the University to produce seventy-two (72) nursing graduates and forty-eight (48) OTA graduates per year.
“This groundbreaking event, which marks the introduction of health sciences programs at Webber International University, is a milestone for the University, making Webber a change agent for the community by providing access to quality nursing and occupational therapy assistant programs that would lead to rewarding careers in healthcare” said Dr. Marquez Nelson.
Established in 1927 by Roger Babson as the first college chartered under Florida’s then new charitable and educational laws, and America’s second school of business for women, Webber’s campuses in Babson Park, FL (residential); Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Laurinburg, NC (residential); and Pinehurst, NC now educate men and women from over 50 different nations. Degrees are offered at the associates, bachelors, and masters level through traditional day, accelerated night and weekend, and entirely on-line formats. Joining Webber as a branch campus in 2011, St. Andrews University is an historically Presbyterian, comprehensive liberal arts school tracing its roots back to 1896. The University features highly qualified faculty, highly engaged staff, small class size, and a wide array of intercollegiate sports and other extracurricular activities. The University has been recognized as a US News and World Reports Best Regional Colleges: South, a Princeton Review Best Southeastern College, has earned Petersons’ top marks for academics, value and community, and has been designated a Military Friendly School. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and numerous programs have earned additional programmatic accreditations.