Largest single building project ever: VU breaks ground on $33.9M Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning

The President and others digging into the ground where the new Center for Health will be.

February 19, 2024

VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University is undergoing a project that will redefine the landscape of health sciences education in Indiana and elevate how students engage in learning as VU prepares to build the $33.9 million Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning.

The landmark structure is an unprecedented pinnacle for Indiana’s First College. Funded by the State of Indiana, it is the largest single building project in Vincennes University history, symbolizing a bold commitment to high-quality education and innovation. 

VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson speaks during Monday's groundbreaking ceremony.

VU held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday afternoon for the Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning. VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, VU Board of Trustees Chair Mike Sievers, VU Director of Architectural Services and Facilities Andrew Young, and Good Samaritan CEO Rob McLin shared their profound remarks, emphasizing their commitment to advancing education and fostering collaboration. Wearing hard hats and surrounded by students, VU leaders and community leaders, ceremoniously put shovels into the dirt, symbolizing the commencement of the construction project with unity and excitement.

Architectural rendering of a hallway.According to VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, “We are embarking on a transformative journey that underscores Vincennes University's dedication to academic excellence. This monumental center signifies the physical expansion of the Vincennes Campus and the boundless opportunities it offers for cutting-edge learning and one-of-a-kind experiences. The center will have profound and far-reaching impacts on the lives and careers of countless VU graduates and innumerable Hoosiers.” 

The construction of the new 72,000-square-foot, two-story center promises to enhance the healthcare infrastructures of an infinite number of communities by helping to meet critical workforce needs. Yearly, hundreds of VU graduates enter the workforce as healthcare heroes. Many of those VU alumni enjoy careers with Good Samaritan.

Architectural rendering of a common area where students may convene.Good Samaritan CEO and VU graduate Rob McLin said, “The mission of Good Samaritan Hospital is to provide excellent healthcare by promoting wellness, education, and training through trusting relationships. Vincennes University is making investments today in healthcare that will have a profound impact not only on Good Samaritan but on our mission for decades to come. The single greatest challenge that Good Sam has is access to world-class caregivers and our ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest, not only for Good Samaritan but for this community. Today kicks off what I think will be one of the most incredible feeder systems for healthcare in this region and really for healthcare across the state. The center will train and educate caregivers ranging from nursing to pharmacy techs to surgery techs to health information managers, and other sorts of allied health professionals that will be a godsend to places like Good Samaritan Hospital.”


The Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning's strategic location within the Vincennes Campus further amplifies its transformative potential.

Nestled in the heart of campus, it will serve as a beacon of accessibility and convenience. Its central location invites exploration and engagement from every direction. The center will rise from the site of the former Harrison Hall on Indianapolis Ave. between 2nd and Chestnut. It will act as a hub, effortlessly connecting students, faculty, staff, and visitors to a vibrant campus. The center is expected to open in the fall of 2025.

A view of the new Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning from Morris Hall.

The new facility nearly doubles the footprint of the current health sciences center. It is the future home of NursingHealth Information ManagementSurgical TechnologyPhysical Therapist AssistantPharmacy Technology, and Funeral Service Education programs. It will also house a Center for Active Learning. 

The newest jewel in the academic crown of VU will be a stunning addition to the Vincennes Campus and features an environmentally friendly design. The center's aesthetic will take on that of the new buildings in the same area, including its closest neighbor Updike Hall – Center of Science, Engineering and Mathematics.

Architectural rendering of a lobby area.

Students will have access to cutting-edge classrooms, simulation labs, and multidisciplinary health labs infused with the newest technology, reflecting the evolving needs of healthcare education.

College of Health Sciences and Human Performance Dean Michelle Cummins said, “This state-of-the-art facility will empower VU students to excel in in-demand and rewarding careers. The center will serve as a driving force for VU students, providing an environment where knowledge is not only gained but actively applied. By fostering innovation, collaboration, and hands-on learning, it will be a catalyst for producing highly skilled professionals who will elevate the standards of health and contribute significantly to the vitality and well-being of communities across the state of Indiana and beyond."


New simulation labs will replicate real-world healthcare scenarios for a realistic educational experience. Very critical in the healthcare arena, these ultra-modern clinical simulation labs will include the highest quality and latest state-of-the-art technology, including high-fidelity manikins, virtual reality simulators, and video recording systems.

Architectural rendering of a simulation lab in the center.Active learning spaces will promote collaborative, team-based, flexible learning classrooms, which will be utilized by all colleges on campus, integrating dynamic and engaging learning. Students will also enjoy vital breakout spaces, including study and lounge areas that encourage interaction between students and faculty.

The center will also include administrative, faculty, and staff offices.

Architectural rendering of the center's upper deck.With a meticulous use of glass, VU has created dynamic views and diligently integrated daylight strategies to maximize natural light penetration throughout the building. The goal is to create an environment that promotes health and productivity, offering vibrant spaces for learning and work. Another key highlight is an outdoor plaza and space that provides an indoor/outdoor experience year-round.

More than brick and mortar, this monumental facility embodies the VU's dedication to shaping the future, fostering collaboration, and nurturing excellence in every facet of higher education. With its grandeur and vision, the Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning promises to redefine the landscape of VU and beyond.

See a Groundbreaking ceremony photo gallery HERE.

Architect, Mechanical and Structural Engineers - Architect: Gibraltar Design, Inc. (Indianapolis); Mechanical Engineer: Heinz Associates, LLC (Jasper, Indiana); Structural Engineer: Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve, Inc. (Indianapolis)

Construction Team - General Construction: Empire Contractors, Inc. (Evansville, Indiana); Mechanical Construction: Huntingburg Machine Works (Huntingburg, Indiana); Electrical Construction: Weyer Electric, Inc. (Ferdinand, Indiana); Site Construction: Kerns Excavating, LLC (Bicknell, Indiana)

Photo Caption: Image 1 - VU leaders and community leaders break ground on the site of the new Center for Health Sciences and Active Learning (left to right) VU Director of Architectural Services and Facilities Andrew Young, VU Board of Trustees Chair Mike Sievers, Associate Vice President of Finance and Controller Conya Wampler, VU Chief Information Officer Jaci Lederman, VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson, VU College of Health Sciences and Human Performance Dean Michelle Cummins, VU Provost Dr. Laura Treanor, Good Samaritan CEO Rob McLin, VU Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs Tony Hahn, and Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum.

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