Cameron University has received a grant of $850,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration or EDA.
The grant will be added to gifts of $200,000 each from the McCasland Foundation of Duncan and the Priddy Foundation of Wichita Falls, Texas and matched by a $1 million grant from Duncan Regional Hospital to build fully integrated science laboratories and associated facilities on the CU-Duncan campus.
The new laboratories will increase educational opportunities that play a role in helping the region’s healthcare industry meet its demand for a skilled workforce. Students will be able to complete all course requirements for an Associate in Science in Allied Health Sciences at CU-Duncan and then, once accepted, can earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing through Duncan Regional Hospital’s partnership with Oklahoma City University.
“With more than $2 million in funding, we can now move forward with our goal of creating science laboratories at CU-Duncan,” said Dr. John McArthur, CU president. “In 2014, Duncan Regional Hospital pledged a $1 million matching gift, which kick-started our fundraising efforts. Subsequently, the McCasland Foundation and the Priddy Foundation provided gifts of $200,000 each. We’ve have been working with the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments since September 2016 to identify additional funding sources. I was elated to learn that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded this significant grant, which will allow us to move from the planning stage to the implementation phase.”
The addition of science lab facilities at CU-Duncan will provide a much-needed resource. Students in Duncan will no longer have to drive to the Lawton campus to complete lab work for beginning chemistry courses. Once the labs are completed, the university will offer microbiology, anatomy and physiology classes at CU-Duncan, providing students with the ability to complete the Associate in Science in allied health degree entirely in Duncan. Currently, students pursuing that degree must commute to Lawton for one to three semesters to complete the necessary coursework.
The CU-Duncan laboratory project will include a chemistry, microbiology lab with seating and chemical fume hoods to support 16-24 students; a general biology, anatomy, physiology lab (primarily computer-based) with seating for 20 students; a shared preparation laboratory with instruments and storage to support the main labs; a secured and dedicated chemical waste storage room; and a secured stock room for chemicals and equipment, including glassware.
“In 2013, we commissioned a feasibility study for adding science laboratories to the CU-Duncan campus,” McArthur said. “The study delineated project requirements, as well as the architectural and structural needs that would be entailed in renovating 5,000 square feet of space at CU-Duncan and also provided us with a preliminary budget. This project has been years in the making, and we’re excited to enhance the learning opportunities for our CU-Duncan students.”
A timeline for the renovation of the space is in development. The goal is to have the new labs open for student use by the Fall 2018 semester.