Health care programs moving to Round Rock

News Reporter
University administrators are hoping for approval from state legislature for a new building in Round Rock, which will house three of eight nursing programs.

University administrators hope the state legislature will approve funding for a new College of Health Professions building on the Round Rock campus.

Ruth Welborn, College of Health Professions dean, hopes the move will be complete by late spring 2018 with three of eight programs in Round Rock opening the following fall.

The clinical laboratory science, health information management, healthcare administration and radiation therapy programs will remain in San Marcos until further funding can be acquired to build in Round Rock. 

Welborn said the physical therapy, communication disorders and respiratory programs will join nursing, already in Round Rock, if the 84th legislative session approves funds for the new building. 

Increased enrollment caused the move, said Cynthia Opheim, associate provost. Students and faculty should be excited because growth means greater opportunities. 

“One of the biggest reasons for the decision was here at Texas State we have critical space shortages,” Opheim said. “The College of Health Professions has no room to grow here, and as health care grows, the students’ training needs to grow too.”

Welborn said students should anticipate greater convenience and access to new resources and a community benefitting from an influx of health care workers. 

“The administration at Texas State recognizes that we’re out of space on this campus,” Welborn said. “The programs can be relocated to Round Rock, and the relocation would better serve the students, so the decision was made.”

Students at Round Rock currently have to commute as far away as Austin, San Antonio or Dallas to do their clinicals, Welborn said. 

The move will allow partnerships between the college and the hospitals in Round Rock, making hands-on experience more accessible to students, she said. Seton Medical Center Williamson, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, Reliant Rehabilitation Hospital, Scott and White Hospital and St. David’s Urgent Care are located in the Round Rock area. 

Jeff Johnson, nursing junior at the Round Rock campus, commuted from San Marcos until six months ago. 

“Hearing people talk, I worry,” Johnson said. “The downside to the move is students will lose the perks of living in San Marcos, which is a huge draw to attending the university in the first place.”

Johnson said the Round Rock campus doesn’t have a gym. However, access to the gym is included in every student’s tuition, including those who go to class in Round Rock.  

Students should not have to commute to the campus because most of their classes will be in Round Rock by the time they get into programs, Welborn said.

“(Interstate Highway 35) is a nightmare, so if you’re commuting that’s going to add a strain,” Johnson said.  “But I agree 100 percent that there’s a lot of room (in Round Rock) to expand, not just the campus but in the community as a whole. And there’s a bigger variety of hospitals up here.” 

Welborn also stressed Texas State faculty are aware of the plan and should not worry about losing their jobs. Staff members are informed at the time they are hired the college will be expanding. Most already live in Austin.