Montana State University

04/10/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/11/2024 16:38

Montana State breaks ground on Bozeman nursing building

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Mark and Robyn Jones, right, pose with a group of Montana State University nursing students, MSU nursing college dean Sarah Shannon, left, and MSU President Waded Cruzado, center, during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new nursing facility in Bozeman. MSU photo by Marcus "Doc" Cravens.

BOZEMAN - It started with an email. Mark Jones wrote to Montana State University President Waded Cruzado asking how he and his wife, Robyn, could use their resources in partnership with the university to better the state's health care system.

Three years later, on Tuesday afternoon, the Joneses, Cruzado and other MSU administrators and partners donned hard hats to ceremonially break ground on a new nursing education building at MSU. The new building will provide faculty and students with state-of-the-art facilities and allow for increased enrollment to help offset Montana's shortage of health care professionals.

While speaking to a crowd that numbered in the hundreds, Mark Jones acknowledged the nurses in attendance, saying, "Everyone knows it's the nurses that actually take care of you."

"You are there at all of the key intersections of our lives," he added. "You're there when we're born. You're there when we're sick, at our worst, and you're there when we make our way out. We are so proud to be associated with helping expand nursing in Montana. It is the nurses that really are the heroes."

In 2021 Mark and Robyn Jones, co-founders of Goosehead Insurance, made a $101 million philanthropic investment to MSU's nursing college, now known as the Mark and Robyn Jones College of Nursing. Part of that money will fund the construction of the new Bozeman nursing building, which MSU plans to name Jones Hall, and buildings at the nursing college's four other campuses, in Billings, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula.

Designed by the architecture firms Cushing Terrell and CO Architects, the Bozeman building will be two stories, about 28,000-square feet and located at the southeast corner of South 11th Avenue and West Grant Street, where Tuesday's groundbreaking ceremony took place.

"The building represents profound educational opportunities for Montana State University students," Cruzado said. "Within its walls, future health care professionals will be nurtured and empowered. They will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and compassion to excel in their profession. This building will lead to innovation and provide an environment where students are inspired to pursue knowledge and service."

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Montana State University administrators and partners participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new nursing education building in Bozeman. MSU photo by Colter Peterson.

The new nursing building will feature multiple classrooms, simulation laboratories and a simulation research space, as well as break and study areas for students who often spend many hours of their days on campus. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

"Our students are smart, eager and engaged and very much desire to make a difference in this community and others like it," said Kimberly Kusak, Bozeman campus director for the nursing college. "This new space will allow us to elevate their learning experiences. It's therefore impossible to overstate just what this investment from Mark and Robyn Jones will mean to our college, our state and this community. We are thrilled to have this new home. We recognize it as an affirmation of your confidence in our program and in our graduates."

MSU's nursing college is the largest producer of registered nurses in Montana, and about 80% of its graduates remain in the state to work after finishing their degrees. The college hosts the state's sole doctoral nursing program, which just received permission to open a certified nurse-midwifery option in the fall to help meet the college's mission of providing care to all residents, especially those in rural, frontier and Native communities.

"Our mission is to transform the lives and the health of Montana's communities, and we seek to do that through cutting-edge education, creation of new knowledge and meaningful service," said Sarah Shannon, nursing college dean. "We have a simple goal - to improve the health of all Montanans."