Plans for a new three-story building for the School of Community and Rural Health on the UT Health Northeast campus are moving forward. The Board of Regents of the UT System gave their approval on Wednesday to add the building to UT System’s Capital Improvement Program and to proceed with its design and development.

The building will be located south of the Academic Center on the main campus of UT Health and will take approximately 18 months to complete. Total project cost is $39 million. Groundbreaking will take place this summer.

            The building is in the design phase, but current estimates place the square footage at approximately 89,000 square feet and will include space for classrooms, offices, and administration. Smith Group of Dallas is the architectural firm.

            “Public and community health are very important to me,” said Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, president, UT Health Northeast. “I know through measures implemented by schools of public health, we can realize a greater impact on healthcare than with all of the medical technology we have today. Just some simple improvements in population health can have a dynamic effect on the health and quality of life of a community and its citizens.”

According to a comprehensive 2016 report from UT System and UT Health, Northeast Texas is the unhealthiest area of the state, opening the door for the impact public health can have on the region.

The UT Health Northeast School of Community and Rural Health offers a Master of Public Health degree and is accepting applications for the fall semester. Scholarships and sponsorships are available.

Classes are currently being held in existing buildings on the campus until the new facility is complete. When finished, the building will also accommodate educational space for occupational and environmental health, community health, policy and management, biostatistics and epidemiology, academic affairs, and open space for future growth.

The Board of Regents approved $30 million in Permanent University Funding last fall as the first step for the building project.

            For more information on UT Health Northeast, visit uthealth.org.