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With eyes on the future, Carson-Newman celebrates new nursing building progress

Carson-Newman University’s health sciences building takes form along Branner Avenue. The state-of-the-art facility is the future home of C-N’s nursing program.

A lot can happen in a year. This week, Carson-Newman University marks one year since community leaders, faculty, staff, trustees and friends gathered for the groundbreaking of the Drama and Ted Russell Center. The new building is the future hub for the University’s health science programs and honors Knoxville’s Drama Russell and her husband Ted, a 1962 C-N alumnus.

Footers, long since poured, yielded steel that not only quickly moved skyward, but now gives shape to vision. The structure already has a commanding presence on the north side of campus. Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler says he is grateful for the work that continues to go into the project and for those making it possible.

“Visual changes to the project are literally occurring daily,” Fowler said. “I cannot adequately express the appreciation I have for the friends who are coming alongside us and helping make this dream come to fruition. What a blessing to be a part of this University as we prepare a place to educate the next generation of Carson-Newman nursing students. As a Christ-centered university, our commitment to excellence in all facets of our educational enterprise is underscored by the Drama and Ted Russell Center project. It is truly an exciting time at Carson-Newman.”

Located on North College Street and Branner Avenue, the state-of-the-art facility consists of three levels spanning 48,000 square feet. The project includes additional classroom space, simulation labs, health assessment labs and general skills labs. To enhance the student experience, the building will feature a food service area, multiple student lounges, collaboration areas, as well as a covered outdoor terrace.

Set to open in fall 2023, the Drama and Ted Russell Center is the first project launched as part of the University’s “Acorns to Oaks” 5-year strategic plan. Approved by C-N’s Board of Trustees, the plan consists of new academic programs, expanded athletic offerings, new and renovated facilities, enrollment growth, and greater missional alignment.

“While our mission to prepare caring and competent professionals has remained steadfast, the needs of our learners and the way healthcare is delivered is ever-changing,” said Dr. Lana Spence, chair of the University’s Nursing Department last year as the project began. “This new building will have the necessary resources to meet unique learning needs of our students and assist faculty to equip them with the tools necessary to meet challenges with both confidence and compassion.” 

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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