Building Bridges

Huntington University is bridging the State Road 24 gap by moving programs into Fort Wayne.

The campus will open later this year through a partnership with Parkview Hospital. The Life Science Education and Research Consortium of Northeast Indiana consists of Huntington University, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast, Trine University and the University of Saint Francis.

"Huntington University is proud to be a part of this exciting joint venture in life science education. We firmly believe that by collaborating together our institutions will be stronger, our students' learning experiences and opportunities will be richer, and our neighborhood, city and region will be more vibrant," said HU President G. Blair Dowden.

Through the consortium, each institution will bring various programs to the Parkview Randallia campus. Huntington plans to offer its adult programs in human resource management, not-for-profit leadership, RN-BSN degree completion and its Master of Counseling program. By fall 2013, the university also hopes to open a master's or doctorate program in occupational therapy.

"We know that there is room for a Christian university perspective in Fort Wayne," said Dr. Ann McPherren, HU senior vice president for strategy. "Our goal is to go to Fort Wayne with something that is distinctive."

The consortium was announced in September with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between all of the partners. Since then, Parkview has been working with the individual institutions to develop a relocation plan as well as a concept for renovations.

The plan is to locate Huntington in the former Fort Wayne Cardiology building alongside Saint Francis and Trine. Fort Wayne Community Schools and Ivy Tech plan to reside in the adjacent former Carew Medical Park building. The two facilities are joined by a common atrium.

"This is a great opportunity to use existing space and develop new programs and really have a great impact on the community," said Sue Ehinger, chief operating officer at Parkview Hospital. "I think there are opportunities that are out there that no one knows are there yet."

Spaces on the Randallia campus will become available in March when the practices move to the Parkview Regional Medical Center on the north side of Fort Wayne. Parkview will continue to maintain a presence on the Randallia campus with a 120-bed hospital and an emergency room, among other general services. Officials are, however, looking at the prospect of additional partners. Vibra Hospital has already signed a letter of intent to locate its long-term acute care center on the campus.

"I think together we're going to achieve far more than we can separately," McPherren said. "It's just going to be a cornucopia of opportunities for students."

Exact specifications for the space along with sharing policies such as common classroom or lab spaces have yet to be developed, but excitement is already building for the potential for the campus.

"We have a lot of students who have a heart for service," McPherren said. "We are going to home-grow some fantastic talent for a 21st century environment."