Willow Hall Opening
This spring, Texas State’s Round Rock Campus welcomes a new building: Willow Hall. The new building houses three departments from the College of Health Professions, offering state-of-the-art facilities for students and researchers, and affordable healthcare services for the community.
3 public clinics
12 research labs
107,708 gross square feet
Building on Success
From spring through fall 2018, three university departments will arrive on the Round Rock Campus: Communication Disorders, Physical Therapy and Respiratory Care. The move to Willow Hall will give these popular programs space to grow by 30 percent over the next several years.
Dr. Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions, notes that when she spoke recently with students in these programs, “there was a heightened sense of excitement about being at Round Rock.” And that excitement is well deserved, she says, not least because of what Willow Hall offers. "This is a crown jewel of Texas State."
In Willow Hall, each department has increased lab space compared to their previous facilities in San Marcos. Just one of the new respiratory care labs, for instance, could hold all three old lab spaces, and the department’s sleep center clinic is now twice as large. “The faculty and students will be deeper engaged in research through our new labs and with nearby healthcare facilities in future clinical research,” reports Dr. Gregg Marshall, professor and chair of the Respiratory Care Department. Every lab features updated healthcare technology and equipment.
“The faculty and students will be deeper engaged in research through our new labs and with nearby healthcare facilities in future clinical research,” reports Dr. Gregg Marshall, professor and chair of the Respiratory Care Department.
Besides the department-specific spaces, Willow Hall also has interdisciplinary facilities. The Inter-Professional Education Lab connects to the Nursing Lab in the adjacent building; in these areas, students from multiple disciplines work together as a team during simulated patient scenarios, just as they will in their professional careers. These labs also provide a place for planning and debriefing after the complex learning experiences.
Not far away is a therapeutic playground, shared by the Speech-Language-Hearing and Physical Therapy clinics. In this area — built with extra attention to safety — children will receive exercise and speech therapies.
A video-conferencing center provides space for webinars and direct communication with the San Marcos campus.
When 500 students start their classes, they’ll have study areas on each floor. “The student centeredness is exciting — they will have so much more space for studying and interacting,” says Dr. Barbara Sanders, professor and chair of the Physical Therapy Department. Likewise, faculty and staff — about 70 people — will also benefit from the new building’s labs, offices and other administrative spaces. Dr. Sanders continues, “There will be so many more relationships for us to develop as a team with Nursing, Communication Disorders and Respiratory Care.”
Serving the Community
Three public clinics are a centerpiece of Willow Hall, connecting students, instructors and the community through education and healthcare. In each clinic, students will put their classroom skills into practice for residents of the greater Round Rock – North Austin area.
“As a training facility, students provide services under the guidance of clinical educators who are licensed and certified,” explains Dr. Valarie Fleming, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Disorders. This clinical experience is irreplaceable for students training in their professions. It also fills a need in the local medical ecosystem, since the university clinics provide different specialty therapies, at different price points and insurance coverages, than existing practices do.
Treatment is available at:
- Physical Therapy Clinic, run by the Department of Physical Therapy
- Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, run by the Department of Communication Disorders
- Texas State Sleep Center, run by the Department of Respiratory Care
The Physical Therapy Clinic, says Dr. Sanders, offers a wide variety of care: “We provide a range of services in our clinic for conditions and diagnostics related to orthopedics, neurologic issues, wound and burn management, older adult needs and pediatrics. Our experienced and compassionate clinical staff provide evidence-based, therapeutic care in support of recovery from injury, surgery or management of chronic medical conditions.”
The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic in Willow Hall will open services to a larger client base, while its smaller office will continue to operate in San Marcos. Dr. Fleming is proud of the clinic’s 70-year-long history and growing future: “Clients can receive cutting-edge, evidence-based assessment and treatment for speech, language, hearing and swallowing needs, as well as intensive summer programs in stuttering, bilingual speech and language, pediatric feeding and swallowing, literacy and social skills.”
The Texas State Sleep Center is a specialized facility for diagnosing conditions that present while clients are sleeping. Dr. Marshall reports that his department “is truly excited to be moving to Willow Hall, bringing expertise in respiratory care and sleep diagnostics to the community. The Texas State Sleep Center will provide outstanding educational and research opportunities while meeting healthcare needs in the regional area.”
The Round Rock Healthcare Neighborhood
As a growing hub for medical services, Round Rock offers numerous opportunities for students to gain practical experience in their fields. Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock, Cornerstone Hospital, Seton Medical Center Williamson, St. David's Round Rock Medical Center, and the Texas A&M Health Science Center are all within a few miles of Willow Hall. Through partnerships between Texas State and healthcare facilities like these, students will open doors to their post-graduation careers.
The university has planned for a healthcare center since 1996, when the Round Rock Campus was first established. The center was transformed from a collection of temporary portables into a true campus in 2003, when the Avery family gave 101 acres of land to Texas State. The Round Rock Campus’ first permanent facility, the Avery Building, opened in 2005, followed by the Nursing Building in 2010. When funding allows, the campus will expand to include Esperanza Hall, future home of the remaining College of Health Professions departments. ⭑