On Monday, December 6, Catholic University and the Conway School of Nursing celebrated a special milestone: the groundbreaking for the new nursing and sciences building.

The event was attended by University leadership, Board of Trustees members, project donors, friends, faculty, staff, and students, as well as by representatives of the firms involved in the building’s design and construction.

“We are so proud to be trusted to help turn this vision of the school of nursing and sciences building into reality. I cannot think of a more noble charge than helping to build a structure that will enhance the education and training of individuals who play such a vital and critical role in the health of our communities."

— Robert Moser, CEO of Clark Construction

The building, which will sit between Maloney and Father O’Connell halls, will be built in a similar collegiate gothic style to those that will flank it. The project will also include updates to the campus entrance on Michigan Avenue, N.E.

“Today is the convergence of a long tradition of leadership and academic excellence in the nursing school with a group of extraordinary, generous donors,” President John Garvey said. “The building will not only serve as a home for our nursing students, but the building and entrance enhancements will provide the entire University with a more beautiful campus gateway. Today, we begin the journey that will lay the foundation for the future of Catholic University nursing education.”

Nursing staff and students pose for a group photo

The new, 102,000-square foot nursing education facility will be built and designed by Ayers Saint Gross, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and Clark Construction. Work will begin on the site in March, 2022, with a planned completion date of 2024. The new building will enable the Conway School to double enrollment and increase the size of its faculty

“We will bring the foremost technological advances into play to help educate the next generations of Catholic University nurses with state-of-the-art labs and classroom spaces,” Garvey said, adding his thanks to donors Bill and Joanne Conway; Richard Banziger, B.A. 1981; and Jeff Rossi, B.A. 1975, J.D. 1978 — all members of the University’s Board of Trustees — for their gifts in support of the building’s construction. He also acknowledged the hard work of Dean Emerita Patricia McMullen for helping garner philanthropic donations to fund the project.

“Over the last three years, we've employed a number of great students. I’m looking forward to seeing the new building come to life and thankful for all that Catholic University has done and continues to do for the community.”

— Edward Garnett, former ANC commissioner for the Brookland area

Bill Conway — who with his wife, Joanne, are the most generous donors in University history — and McMullen both spoke about how nurses serve patients regardless of their background, faith, sexual orientation, or financial status.

“The wonderful thing about nursing is that we take people as they are — we provide care to the poorest among us, as well as the wealthiest. Indeed, disease is an ironic leveler,” McMullen said.

Conway credited his wife with helping launch their support of nursing, and expressed his gratitude to be able to help and to all others who helped realize the dream of the new building.

Bill Conway laughs, with President Garvey and Dean Emerita McMullen by his side

“I am blessed as a person with great faith. I figure that God’s in control and I’m not. Probably that’s a good thing. He’s given me and my wife all these resources, and what are we supposed to do with them?” he said. “There are many people who are God’s arms and legs here who helped make this happen: donors, my fellow trustees, faculty of Catholic University School of Nursing.”

University Architect Debbi Nauta Rodriguez spoke on behalf of the University team that has been working diligently on preparations for the building’s construction. She noted the project is now in the hands of the three firms that will oversee the building’s rise.

“The wonderful thing about nursing is that we take people as they are — we provide care to the poorest among us, as well as the wealthiest. Indeed, disease is an ironic leveler.”

— Patricia McMullen, dean emerita of the Conway School of Nursing

Robert Moser, CEO of Clark Construction, said he was thrilled to celebrate the groundbreaking of  “this new campus landmark” as a milestone for the University. This is the third building Clark Construction will erect on campus. The firm also built the Columbus School of Law in 1994 and the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center in 2003.

“We are so proud to be trusted to help turn this vision of the school of nursing and sciences building into reality,” Moser said. “I cannot think of a more noble charge than helping to build a structure that will enhance the education and training of individuals who play such a vital and critical role in the health of our communities.”

Conway scholars pose with Bill Conway

Speaking to that critical role was Edward Garnett, a former ANC commissioner for the Brookland area and brother to a Catholic University graduate. He explained the important part Catholic University nursing students have played in his family since he and his wife welcomed twin sons who needed some extra care at home. Garnett said they chose to reach out to the University because they wanted helpers with medical training.

“We sent our request for help to a nursing email group at the University, and we were staggered by the responses,” he said. “It actually was kind of overwhelming to sort through the number of qualified applicants. Over the last three years, we've employed a number of great students. I’m looking forward to seeing the new building come to life and thankful for all that Catholic University has done and continues to do for the community.”

The exterior of the building will also be planted with environmentally sensitive vegetation and a terrace garden. As part of Catholic University’s commitment to sustainability and healthy workplaces, the  University is seeking LEED gold environmental certification for the construction, as well as silver certification as a WELL building. WELL certification means a structure is built to enhance the users’ physical, emotional, and mental health. Achieving WELL certification would make Catholic University the first university on the east coast to receive that recognition.