By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
The Baylor University Board of Regents announced Friday a large donation from Baylor Regent and alumnus Emeritus Drayton McLane Jr., for the renovation of the Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas.
The $18 million renovation project of the former Baptist Building in Dallas is expected to begin January 2017 and be completed in fall 2018. According to Dr. Shelley F. Conroy, dean and professor of the Baylor Louise Herrington School of Nursing, the design plans are complete after 18 months of planning and collaboration with architects. The renovation will more than triple the space of the current LHSON campus for learning classrooms, student services, a new auditorium and offices for faculty and administration, according to a Baylor press release. Baylor did not disclose the full amount of McLane’s gift, and active fundraising continues to raise the total amount needed to complete this project.
“Our family has been very committed to Baylor University because of its Christian commitment to higher education and also to health care, and this is why we were interested in helping with a gift that will begin the building renovation for Baylor’s outstanding Louise Herrington School of Nursing,” McLane said in the press release. “We are hopeful that many other alumni of Baylor University will want to assist in creating a brighter future for health care.”
The Board of Regents met Friday to announce this donation for renovation, as well as to discuss openness and accountability in the wake of the sexual assault lawsuits the university faces.
“We believe passionately in the importance of integrity and clarity. Those values are at the core of our faith and of our University,” said Ronald D. Murff, B.B.A. ’75, chair of the board, according to a press release. “We know that many people have questions about decisions made over the past weeks and months. They want additional details and greater transparency, and they deserve that. We continue to look for ways to share more information while remaining true to our commitment to protect the survivors and spare them additional suffering. The board is committed to following through.”
Conroy said the driving force behind this donation was the ever-pressing needs of the healthcare industry and those it serves. The Health Resources and Services Administration and the Texas Center for Workforce Studies currently show a shortage of 15,000 nurses in Texas. Over the course of the next 15 years, this number is expected to grow to be a shortage of 60,000 nurses. The nurses and advanced-practice nurses from Baylor’s School of Nursing play a large role in decreasing the shortage.
“As it has for generations, [Louise Herrington School of Nursing] is leading the way by holistically educating students in mind and spirit to fulfill their calling in leadership roles locally and throughout the world,” Conroy wrote in an email to the Lariat.
The Board of Regents also focused its discussion toward its commitment to rebuild trust with the Baylor family, community and public. According to Conroy, the donation will deliver equipment and technologies that will foster a dynamic learning experience in a Christian environment. She also emphasized gratefulness for the McLanes’ generosity and support.
“We are excited about the ability to move forward with the expansion,” Conroy said. “It is my hope that Mr. McLane’s lead gift will the be impetus for others to join us in this active fundraising phase for the building, so that we are able to reach our goal to fully fund the renovations.”
The new building will be located at 333 North Washington Ave., Dallas. The Baylor School of Nursing was established in 1909, and this building will continue the tradition of the school as part of the academic health center on the Baylor Scott and White Baylor University Medical Center Campus, Conroy said.
“At [Louise Herrington School of Nursing], we emphasize the nurse’s calling to Learn.Lead.Serve.™ locally and globally,” Conroy said. “This gift will be a stepping stone for our continued strategic growth as we strive to achieve the exemplars in Baylor University’s Pro Futuris.”