Stephen F. Austin State University, Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing

Nacogdoches, Texas

  • FIRM

    WHR Architects


    Stephen F. Austin State University

  • AREA

    44,268 sq.ft.





Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) sought to expand its School of Nursing by creating a state-of-the-art teaching facility on a 17-acre parcel of donated land. A former warehouse stood on the site, forcing the design team to determine whether renovation or new construction was more cost-effective. A new one-story wood-frame building proved to be ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$210.08FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYClassrooms most cost-effective structure, enabling SFA to allocate maximum resources to the building’s program.

The 9,000-square-foot simulation laboratory is the school’s focal point. Four different spaces replicate a clinical environment with 14 patient rooms and 21 patient simulators. Areas include a 10-exam-table assessment lab; a skills/ER/debriefing lab; a 10-room critical-care medical/surgical lab; and five-room obstetrics/labor, delivery/NICU and pediatrics lab.

Patient mannequins simulate a variety of patient conditions and are maneuvered remotely by instructors in adjacent control rooms. Cameras at each bed record and play back procedures, which can be streamed into classrooms for simulcasting or recording for later review. Nurses’ stations and an emergency room lab also aid simulation training. The building contains three classrooms, a computer classroom, conference room, computer lab, and separate student and faculty lounges.

With the addition of its new school of nursing, SFA now can accommodate more nursing students, and the nursing program has become the university’s second-largest major. Its 2009 graduation and initial licensure rate was 98 percent, the highest of any Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Texas.