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Southern College of Optometry (SCO) today announced a $9.4 building project that will provide its students with new classroom facilities and state-of-the-art instructional space on campus.
The new building in midtown will be the college’s most ambitious since the construction of The Eye Center, the college’s public clinical facility, in 2002.
“One of the primary reasons our students choose SCO is The Eye Center,” said Dr. Richard W. Phillips, SCO’s president. “We intend to match the caliber of that outstanding clinical facility with a state-of-the-art classroom and instructional teaching building that will meet the educational needs of 21st century optometry students.”
SCO’s new building will be located on the expansive concrete patio space behind the college’s 11-story tower. Designed by Memphis-based Formus, Inc., the building will provide greater classroom space and flexibility, including enough room to accommodate campus-wide meetings or special events.
An atrium and grand hall will connect the new building to SCO’s existing tower, which was completed in 1970. Laboratory and other teaching spaces will be moved to the tower’s first floor in closer proximity of the new building to support the curriculum needs of SCO’s four-year academic program.
SCO will break ground May 11, 2012. The school expects the building to be ready for use in August 2013. When completed, the building project will provide an additional 23,016 square feet of space. Primary construction will be headed by Linkous Construction of Memphis.
To finance the $9.4 million project, SCO has launched "Envision Our Progress," a five-year, $4 million capital campaign. An advance phase has already raised $1 million for the project. SCO’s Board of Trustees will finance the remainder of the project through investments and cost-savings measures over the five-year period.
The comprehensive fundraising campaign also aims to improve scholarship opportunities for students and greater vision care access for mid-south area patients. Campaign goals include raising $500,000 for increasing scholarship opportunities for students and an additional $500,000 to provide more patient care opportunities in the mid-south, including school and other community-based vision screenings.
“Because the success of an educational program involves more than just a physical building, the college is committed to attracting the best students with this comprehensive campaign designed to improve our academic facilities, scholarship opportunities and patient care access,” said Dr. Phillips.
For more visual details about the project, view a gallery of design renderings below:
Visit SCO's "Envision Our Progress" campaign site to learn more about the comprehensive campaign to support the building program, student scholarships and clinical education/patient care opportunities.