Texas State hosts Willow Hall building dedication in Round Rock

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
May 24, 2018

ROUND ROCK – Texas State University dedicated the new Willow Hall on the Round Rock Campus May 24 during a meeting of the Texas State University System Board of Regents.

The opening of Willow Hall allows the departments of Communication Disorders, Physical Therapy and Respiratory Care, along with associated research labs and clinics, to relocate to Round Rock. This continues Texas State's ongoing migration of the College of Health Professions from San Marcos to Round Rock. The three departments join the St. David’s School of Nursing on the Round Rock Campus, which opened as a new program in 2010 to help address the state's chronic nursing shortage.

"We are committed to educating the next generation of high-quality healthcare professionals to meet the future needs of Texas' growing population," said Texas State President Denise M. Trauth. "Willow Hall is the latest example of the College of Health Professions' commitment to become the standard of excellence in patient healthcare delivery.

"Our graduates excel in providing quality, compassionate care directly to patients at the hospital bedside, home or clinic, where patient-provider interactions are incredibly meaningful and make a lasting impact on patient health and wellbeing," she said. "In addition, by consolidating our health professions programs on one campus located in the healthcare nexus of the state, Texas State will provide a similar educational experience found at dedicated medical schools and health science campuses around the country."

Willow Hall includes more than 100,000 square feet of space for state-of-the-art clinics, student-centered work spaces and research labs. The facility also features unique spaces geared toward hands-on learning, including an anatomy lab, a sleep center, and sound-proof therapy and testing rooms for hearing. The on-site therapeutic playground will serve young patients in the speech language, hearing and physical therapy programs. The programs’ research labs and clinics will serve patients from across the community.

All the academic programs housed in this building are full-time programs that require clinical experience, and are either upper-level undergraduate programs for juniors and seniors, or graduate master’s and doctoral programs.

St. David's Round Rock Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Round Rock, Cornerstone Hospital, the Seton Medical Center Williamson and the Texas A&M Health Science Center are now operating near the Round Rock Campus, enabling Texas State to offer expanded collaborative opportunities with these area healthcare facilities.

"With the opening of Willow Hall, the healthcare environment in Round Rock will increasingly be more active and dynamic in preparing qualified healthcare professionals, supporting active faculty research and community service, and providing quality healthcare to the community," said Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions. "The Willow Hall facility will allow program growth to increase by 30 percent over the next few years for the three departments."

Including the projected enrollment increases, Willow Hall will accommodate more than 500 students on the Round Rock Campus. The graduates of these programs will go on to address Texas' growing healthcare needs, with the majority of the students remaining in the Central Texas area to serve patients locally.

The Round Rock campus is already home to significant research in healthcare services, including autism, cognitive impairment, health disparities among minority populations, fluency disorders, healthcare-acquired infections and brain injury rehabilitation. New research labs in Willow Hall will equip Texas State faculty and students to expand their research initiatives.

"It is an exciting time to move the three departments and their associated clinics to the Round Rock Campus. These facilities will provide health professions students a state-of-the-art teaching facility to study and acquire the healthcare competencies of their discipline," Welborn said.

In order to accommodate the 107,000-square-foot building within the three-story limit outlined by the University Master Plan, some underground space was included in the design. Light wells were created along the walls that form the courtyard to unify the lower level with the rest of the building and provide ample natural light. These light wells and a central open stair also serve to orient occupants as they move through the building.

The opening of Willow Hall completes the second phase of the College of Health Professions' move from San Marcos to Round Rock. The final phase awaits the construction of Esperanza Hall, currently on hold pending funding. Esperanza Hall would frame the western side of the Round Rock Campus mall, becoming the fourth academic building on the Round Rock Campus. The completion of Esperanza Hall would allow the remaining programs in the College of Health Professions — Clinical Laboratory Science, Health Administration, Health Information Management and Radiation Therapy — to relocate to Round Rock.

The Round Rock Campus is located at 1555 University Boulevard in Round Rock. For more information, contact the Office of Media Relations at (512) 245-2180 or visit www.UA.TXstate.edu/willowhall.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 180,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.