UACCM receives $2 million grant for construction of healthcare training building

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton (UACCM) will receive a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to build a new Allied Health and Science Center.

This project will consolidate the school’s health professional training programs into one building and provide increased capacity to expand its programs. This EDA investment will be matched with $1.1 million in local funds.

The EDA funds will be utilized for site development and infrastructure improvements to prepare the college’s proposed east side location along University Boulevard. The facility will expand the current practical nursing, registered nursing, nursing assisting, dietary management and STEM field transfer credentials and will also allow the college to explore added programming in other vital, in-demand health fields.

“Receiving this grant will enable UACCM to greatly expand its educational and training opportunities in the sciences and medical professions in the River Valley. This new facility will allow UACCM to update its simulation equipment and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to better equip its graduates to enter the workforce or transfer to other institutions,” said UACCM Chancellor Lisa Willenberg. “UACCM is a regional leader in the education and training of nurses and allied healthcare employees and helps meet the current labor shortage in these fields.”

Over the course of the next 12 months, UACCM will work in coordination with the UA System Office to ensure all approvals are in place, including completing a capital project request that will be submitted to the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees for review at their November meeting.

The college administration will secure additional funding sources for construction of the building, which may include reserves, bonding and private donors. There will also be a bidding process to select architects and engineers for the project. 

Although UACCM provided preliminary drawings for the grant application, once architects and engineers have been selected, the plans may change based on environmental and other factors. UACCM officials anticipate an official groundbreaking in approximately 18 months and a grand opening in fall 2025.

UACCM Chancellor Willenberg expressed gratitude for the numerous letters of support presented to the EDA from legislators on both a federal and state level, as well as healthcare providers in the region confirming the shortage of healthcare workers and the need for additional training facilities.

The project has received widespread support from government officials, including Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who stated, “This $2 million grant will allow UACCM to expand opportunities so that more students than ever can pursue a career in the healthcare profession. The healthcare industry and all Arkansans will benefit from the grant, which strengthens the school’s mission to train more healthcare professionals.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. EDA funds the district to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.