Expanded Nursing School and Library Facilities Debut at Drake State

By Eric Althoff

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.—Historically Black Drake State Community and Technical College’s Building 700 got a new life as the home for the school’s nursing program, which had outgrown the campus’s Building 100. The work, commencing in June 2022, was undertaken by construction management firm HPM of Birmingham as part of a $15 million schoolwide improvement project. HPM worked in conjunction with designer Nola VanPeursem, located in Huntsville.

The new nursing building contains four skills labs and two simulation laboratories. Nearly a half-million dollars of modern equipment, such as training mannequins and medical carts, was purchased and added to the school as part of the redesign.

Meanwhile, Drake State’s library was modified to serve several additional functions, including as the administration space and campus bookstore. The library facilities remain on the first two floors, which also include financial aid and academic advising offices, a testing center, lounge and gameroom. The building was also given a fresh paint job and the ceiling upgraded as well.

“The completion of these renovations marks a pivotal moment in Drake State’s commitment to academic excellence,” Drake State President Dr. Patricia Sims said. “Our updated library and the transformation of Building 700 to accommodate our expanding nursing programs will enhance student experiences and cultivate a dynamic learning environment.

“We extend our appreciation to HPM for their expertise and dedication throughout this project, which will impact our students for years to come.”

HPM’s duties included preconstruction services such as estimating and drawing reviews, field coordination, project management, and closeout services. The firm also overhauled a mechanical yard attached to Building 700, installing new electrical equipment and two chillers as well.

“The new library and nursing school facilities at Drake State Community and Technical College will greatly enhance student life and overall campus involvement, said HPM President Ryan Austin. “While we have had a long-standing relationship with the Alabama Community College System, this is our first project with Drake State.”

In a subsequent statement sent to School Construction News, Austin said that construction work had to be undertaken carefully as the campus remained operational during the buildout.

“As with any on-campus project, one of the biggest challenges was ensuring progress while minimizing the impact on the school’s ongoing operations,” he said. “Our project team carefully considered the impact that construction would have on the campus and coordinated schedules, shutdowns and work during times that would have the least impact on campus operations. In order to stay on schedule and avoid disruptions, we bid out mechanical and electrical equipment packages prior to the construction package in order to get in front of long lead times and supply chain issues.”

HPM’s other education-related construction work includes Coleman Coliseum and Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility at the University of Alabama, Texas Tech University’s Jones AT&T East Side Stadium, and the Daniel Meyer Coliseum and Lupton Baseball Field at Texas Christian University.