Cox College Announces Reinvestment Campaign

This article was originally posted on the Cox Health Foundation website and can be viewed here.

For 110 years, training within the walls of Cox College has transformed students into medical professionals. Now, in preparation for the greatest need healthcare has seen in recent history, the those walls are getting some attention. The college is launching a $6.6 million capital campaign to update its facilities and expand its abilities to train medical professionals on Springfield’s north side.

“Thousands of ‘Baby Boomers’ are retiring every single day in the United States, which will make the demand for health care workers very great over the next few years,” says Dr. Robert Lunn, interim president of Cox College. “We’re very excited about the changes and improvements coming to Cox College because we believe they will allow us to prepare increased numbers of health care workers for the need that’s here now and coming soon.”

The renovations touch all four floors of Cox College, which is connected to Cox North Hospital. The lower level will incorporate a new student lounge area to encourage social interaction and relationship development between lines of study. The first floor will be totally focused on students services, featuring areas for registration, financial aid, student government and book store services. The academic floors will hold student study and activity spaces, new conference and group learning rooms, as well as larger classrooms for intended growth.

Outside, the exterior will receive a new façade that will incorporate legacy elements, including George Kieffer’s “Helping Hands” tile mural. The mural will be preserved, and a nearby fountain – reminiscent of many once present on the Cox North campus — will be restored. “Those elements are very important to us, as they’re things that our alumni value and represent our long history,” says Lunn.

Indeed, that history goes deep. Begun as Burge Deaconess Training School in 1907, the college has expanded over the years to offer much more than just nursing.

In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, Cox College offers radiologic technology and diagnostic imaging, medical assisting, as well as master’s degrees in Nutrition Diagnostics and Occupational Therapy. The college is approved for more nursing students than any other similar college in the region – but with the proposed improvements, the aim is to increase how many students the Missouri State Board of Nursing will allow the college to accept.

“Right now, we’re allowed to accept 250 new nursing students every year,” says Lunn. “We’re hoping, after these improvements, to have our cap changed to 275 and eventually 300. The goal is to prepare for the growing need for nurses as our communities expand and require more health care.”

The college’s campaign was launched a month ago by the CoxHealth Foundation. In that short period of time, several lead donors have already contributed $1.4 million to the construction project.

“The college was a gift to us in 1907 out of a great demand for nursing care at that time,” says Lisa Alexander, president of the CoxHealth Foundation. “Today, donors are reinvesting in this campus, appreciating that without the health professionals it graduates, we could face critical shortages in our hospitals and healthcare settings. As a not-for-profit organization, Cox College is here to serve southwest Missouri by providing a resource that improves all of our lives. We are grateful to all those willing to invest in our students, who become our valued caregivers.”

For more information about the campaign or to donate, call the CoxHealth Foundation at 417-269-7109.