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Lee University will construct a $7 million, "state-of-the-art" building on the southern side of its Cleveland, Tenn., campus to house its nursing school, President Paul Conn said in a news release.

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Lee University has announced plans for immediate construction of a major new building to house its School of Nursing. The 41,000-sq-foot building will lie along Parker Street on the southern edge of the Lee campus, according to Lee president Dr. Paul Conn.

"This will be another 'signature building' for our campus," Conn said in the release.

Site preparation has already begun and construction will begin early this month, the release said.

Lee's School of Nursing was launched one year ago, and already is operating at maximum capacity for first- and second-year nursing students, according to Dr. Debbie Murray, vice president for academics at Lee.

The new building is expected to be finished by fall 2016. The first nursing graduates are scheduled to complete their degrees in late 2017.

The structure will provide room for growth of the new nursing program, according to Murray. The building will include high-tech "simulation labs" that will make it possible for nursing students to study patient care with highly advanced "robot patients," the release said.

The building also will include a 170-seat lecture hall, computerized learning centers for specialties such as pediatrics, ob/gyn, and community health, and 20 faculty offices.

Conn stated that the general contractors for the facility will be Tri-Con, Inc., of Cleveland, with architectural services provided by Rardin and Carroll Architects of Chattanooga.

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