KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends gathered Monday afternoon to break ground for the new Croley Nursing Building at the University of Tennessee.

The new nursing building will be located between Volunteer Boulevard and Peyton Manning Pass.

The $85 million, 117,000-square-foot building will have four stories and feature several unique elements including:

  • Four enhanced simulation spaces: a physical assessment lab, a lab that focuses on improving psychological and motor skills, a high-fidelity acute care area that mimics hospital care, and a high-fidelity primary care area that mimics a primary care office.
  • A pre-function space that will open onto Peyton Manning Pass.
  • A state-of-the-art wet laboratory that will accommodate the college’s microbiome scientists as well as collaborators from other disciplines.
  • A student commons space with a fresh food dining option, providing a space to refuel and build social ties.
  • Flexible instructional spaces that allow adjustment with pedagogy and increasing enrollment.

“The Croley Nursing Building will make a great impact on the University of Tennessee,” said Victoria Niederhauser, dean and Sara Rosenbalm Croley Endowed dean’s chair of the college. “This new space will open the door for more nurses; strengthen our reputation and rankings; and provide a space for hands-on learning, faculty collaboration, and research innovation.”

According to the news release, as the need for health care grows, there are openings for more than 200,000 registered nurses per year through 2026.

UT plans to meet the growing demand for nurses by admitting and graduating more students. The new facility is meant to triple the space for future students.

“This new and modern facility will allow us to grow to meet the increasing demands of the nursing workforce in Tennessee and beyond,” Niederhauser said.

UT Board of Trustees approved the naming of the building after Sara Croley and her husband Ross, who made a $7.5 million donation to support the new building in 2019.

The state legislature also partially funded the cost of the new building.

The Croley Nursing Building is set for completion in the fall of 2025.