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Nursing Department Plans Move to Emporia State Campus

Exterior of Central Morse Hall on Emporia State University's campus

Plans are on the table to move the ESU Department of Nursing to the university’s campus, which will benefit both Emporia State University and Newman Regional Health. The entire process, which involves gaining approval from the State of Kansas and Kansas Board of Regents, along with soliciting bids, has a timeline of two years.

“Our proposal is to renovate part of Central Morse Hall as new space for Emporia State’s nursing department,” said Cory Falldine, ESU vice president for infrastructure.

Central Morse Hall, shown above, has been vacant since the end of the spring 2019 semester. It remains in excellent structural condition and is a good fit for the nursing program. The timing of the project also fits with future plans for nursing as it begins its second century of educating and training nurses for future jobs.

An agreement between Newman Regional Health and Emporia State for the use of the Cora Miller building at 12th Avenue and Chestnut Street expires in summer 2024.

“The Kansas Board of Regents has asked us to look at our campus space optimization,” said Falldine. “This includes studying the buildings we have and how they are used. The logical choice is to move the program into an existing building rather than purchasing Cora Miller and adding a building to our portfolio.”

Dr. Mary Mitsui, interim chair of nursing, agrees.

“We have long enjoyed our close partnership with Newman Regional Health during the last century,” she said. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the hospital while having our students, faculty and staff in the middle of campus with our ESU colleagues.”

The new location, she said, will allow nursing faculty to work with other campus academic departments as well as students having closer proximity to student success programs.

The university’s decision also benefits Newman Regional Health, which can use the Cora Miller space in its own long-term plans.

Bob Wright, CEO at Newman Regional Health, sees this as a new beginning.

“Newman Regional Health has certainly benefitted from having a school of nursing on campus,” Wright said. “But our relationship with ESU is more than a building and does not end with this relocation. This decision brings a new focus on finding ways we can work together to attract more students to the ESU program and more ESU graduates to our hospital.”

Concluded Falldine: “Moving the nursing program to Central Morse Hall allows us to efficiently use space that already exists, effectively integrates faculty, staff and students into campus life and allows us to move forward with additional students in the program and other program expansions. This initiative aims to keep Emporia State Forward Focused and Future Ready.