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Groundbreaking set today for Pfeiffer University Center for Health Sciences

ALBEMARLE — Pfeiffer University will hold a groundbreaking at 10 a.m. Thursday for its Center for Health Sciences.

The center will be home to the new physician assistant studies and occupational therapy programs.

The ceremony will be at 245 E. Main St. A reception will follow at Roger Martin Gallery, 260 E. Main St.

Construction will begin this month with a completion date of May 2020. The project was designed by the architectural firm Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, and Stokes Construction is the contractor.

The all-in cost of the project, including furnishings and equipment, is $16 million.

The building will feature the Center for Advanced Clinical Simulation Education, which will include four simulated ICU rooms, one surgical suite and one emergency trauma bay. Each room will be equipped with high-fidelity, computerized human simulators.

Additionally, the simulation center will feature a fully functional clinic with six exam rooms, where physician assistant students will interact with patients.

Graduate clinical simulation education at Pfeiffer University will bridge classroom instruction and clinical practice.

A doctoral-level occupational therapy program in Albemarle is also in the planning phase.

Twenty-four students are anticipated to begin the physician assistant studies program in January 2020. The program will start on the Misenheimer campus and will move into its Albemarle location when Pfeiffer acquires the occupancy permit.

Thirty-six students are anticipated to begin in 2021, with 45 students to follow in 2022.

Combined, both the physician assistant and occupational therapy programs will bring about 200 graduate students a year to downtown Albemarle.

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