SMU breaks ground on Dr. Bob Smith Health Center

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The official groundbreaking. Photo credit: Christina Cox

SMU broke ground on its newest building Friday afternoon. The Dr. Both Smith Health Center will serve more than 11,000 SMU students in its 33,000-square-foot facility.

Demolition of the 52-year-old Memorial Health Center and construction of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center began this fall, but the official groundbreaking took place Friday.

“We are going to do the more refined breaking of the ground today,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner joked.

The new building was funded by a $5 million donation form the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation in 2012. It is named for Dallas pediatrician and SMU alumnus Dr. Bob Smith whose family has attended SMU for four generations.

“SMU became a cornerstone in my father’s life,” said Sally Smith Mashburn, president and treasurer of the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation and daughter of Dr. Bob and Jean Smith. “As you know, Mustang blood runs deep in the Smith family.”

The Smith family chose to donate to SMU in honor of the Dr. Smith’s love for SMU, medicine and education, in addition to his passion for altruism and community improvement.

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The rendering of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. (Courtesy of SMU)

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will provide laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services for the center’s full-time and part-time physicians. The facility will also contain 10 newly equipped exam rooms with private waiting areas, and rooms for part-time specialists in dermatology, gynecology and sports medicine.

The center will contain offices for the addition of dental services and space for extended evening and weekend hours. There will be 19 counseling offices to provide counseling and psychiatric services to SMU students.

A classroom will also be added to the center to allow for student health education programs, prevention programs, peer-education and substance abuse prevention.

“It will provide wellness and healthy decision making,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White. “The goal of the center is to keep students healthy an fully supported while completing their SMU dreams.”

Mike Boone, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees, said that the primary focus of the university is enhancing the campus experience for all students. The new health center will help promote the health and well being of all students.

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is scheduled for completion in spring 2016.

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President R. Gerald Turned addressing the crowd at the groundbreaking. Photo credit: Christina Cox

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