Lindenwood University plans to start a Bachelor of Science in nursing completion degree program at the former Barat Academy building in Dardenne Prairie next fall.
The University purchased the 69,000 square foot school building for a little over $8 million, according to Lindenwood University President James Evans.
The property, located close to Interstate 40, was used by Barat Academy for several years. The private Catholic high school was sued last year by its landlord, CP-SPE, LLC for failure to pay rent. Efforts to renegotiate the lease failed and the locks were changed at the school in August 2011.
Barat Academy moved to the former Gateway Academy property in Chesterfield last fall, and had planned to purchase the building in April 2012.
The school is located on 28 acre property and includes a gymnasium, athletic fields and labs. It's still unclear how the gymnasium and athletic fields will be used.
"It's a beautiful classroom and office building," Evans said. "It's all set up for classes, it has classrooms large enough to accomodate college-level offerings. It has ample parking with about 175 parking spaces already there. It's all set up to be an educational facility."
A dean for the Nursing and Allied Health Sciences Program has been hired, but not yet named. The program, which will open in fall 2013, will be Lindenwood's first foray into the health sciences.
"We have a health administration program now, but this will be a much bigger venture into the health sciences. It will be a long-term initiative," Evans said.
Several area community colleges offer an associate's degree in nursing and credentialing for a nursing license. Lindenwood would offer a BSN completion program for students who have completed their associates degree in nursing.
Lindenwood is talking with St. Charles Community College about some sort of partnership between the schools for the nursing programs.
"The hospitals in Missouri now want mostly bachelors level nurses if they can get them," Evans said. "There is a growing demand for programs to be able to move nursing credentials from the RN level to the BSN level."
Students will take upper level science classes, general education classes and nursing classes to finish the degree.
Eventually, Lindenwood may consider offering a four-year Bachelor of Science Nursing degree or programs in occupational therapy assistance and health science.
"We see the demand for skilled health professionals only growing," Evans said. "I think the population gets older... there is an ever increasing need for good health care."