A proposed new nursing degree program at Eastern Illinois University moved one step closer to reality Wednesday when the Board of Trustees gave its unanimous approval.
EIU officials will now prepare to present the plan to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which will make a determination on final authorization and funding.
The program, often termed an “RN to BSN completion program,” would provide bachelor of science in nursing degrees to those who already have earned registered nursing licenses.
“This is a very important niche program to meet the needs of regional health-care providers,” said Blair Lord, EIU provost and vice president for academic affairs.
EIU President Lou Hencken spoke enthusiastically about the proposal, citing a “tremendous need” for the program in Illinois and throughout the United States.
Also Wednesday, the board approved spending $1.16 million – without taxpayer money – to build a 4,870-square-foot, second-floor addition to the east side of Lantz Arena.
The athletic department has secured finances the project through fund raising, football revenue and corporate sponsorships.
The Lantz addition is to house coaching offices for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, an academic space that would include staff offices, a study area, a computer lab, restrooms and a conference room.
Work is set to begin in March and be completed next fall.
In other business, the board agreed to allocate $235,000 for the purchase and demolition of property at 1816 Ninth St., to create a student and staff parking lot.
The property is directly east of the Doudna Fine Arts Center, “an area where we desperately need parking,” Hencken said. The center is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion.
The house is currently owned and occupied by the Zeta Alpha chapter of the Alpha Phi sorority. Acquisition of property in that area is in accordance with the Campus Master Plan.
Funds for the purchase were acquired through fees charged for parking permits and parking violations.