Kahler Slater: Chosen to design new College of Health Sciences for Mary Baldwin College

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Jennifer Neighbors

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Firm Brings to Project Nearly 20 Years of Experience in Academic Health Sciences

MILWAUKEE – Kahler Slater, a Milwaukee-based, award-winning architecture and experience design firm, has been chosen to design Mary Baldwin College’s new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in Fishersville, Va.

Propelled by a $15 million gift, the Mary Baldwin College Board of Trustees voted in fall 2011 to establish graduate programs in the health sciences, paving the way for a major programmatic and physical expansion. Ground will be broken for the new facility this fall and the College plans to welcome its first students in June 2014.

Three degree programs have been proposed for the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences – Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) programs that would be launched in 2014 and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) program that would be added in 2015.

“We are honored to have been chosen for this important project for Mary Baldwin College, and look forward to helping them develop this exciting new program,” said Al Krueger, Kahler Slater’s principal-in-charge.

Kahler Slater joins site developers Crescent Development Group LLC of Charlottesville, Va. on the project. Crescent Development partnered with Augusta County on a proposal that would include the College of Health Sciences campus as part of a 160-acre mixed-use development. The hilltop location overlooks an array of health care facilities and offers vistas of the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains.

National and International Experience

According David Mowen, Mary Baldwin College’s senior vice president for business and finance, Kahler Slater’s extensive experience in the academic health sciences and health care arenas – nationally and, recently, in Singapore – were key factors in the firm’s selection to design the facility.

“Kahler Slater has spent the past 17 years building a specific practice in health sciences education planning and design,” he explained. “They also are experts in health care design, so they understand the latest trends in the industry that our graduates will be entering. We are delighted that their team will be bringing that expertise to the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.”

Mowen also noted Kahler Slater’s experience in sustainable design as an important consideration in the College’s decision-making process. Four facilities designed by the firm have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and LEED certification is pending for another 10 projects.

“Visioning Session” Launches Project

The Kahler Slater and Mary Baldwin College teams recently held a “visioning” session, during which they outlined a preliminary vision for the facility. That document will guide the team throughout the planning and design process.

“This tool will help ensure that, at every juncture, we keep at the forefront both the College’s aspirational vision and the experience that students and faculty will have as they use the facility,” said Kahler Slater Senior Principal and Designer Lawrence Schnuck.

There are certain core elements that Kahler Slater incorporates into every health sciences educational facility it designs, he added. They include advanced technology that allows students to learn anywhere in the building; high-tech simulation equipment and observation/feedback methods for use in teaching core competencies; collaboration spaces for interdisciplinary interaction among professions; and a greater emphasis on problem-based, hands-on learning labs than on traditional classrooms.

“Today’s health sciences educators recognize the need for specially designed, technology-supported, hands-on facilities where they can educate the next generation of health professionals,” Schnuck said.

About Kahler Slater

Founded in 1908, Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater began as a regional provider of architecture and interior design services and has grown to become a global, award-winning team of Experience Designers. With three offices in the United States and Singapore, Kahler Slater is a team of creative problem-solvers who work with visionary clients seeking better experiences and environments for themselves and the people they serve. More information is available at http://www.kahlerslater.com.