David Bickel, a 1964 graduate, came out to see Manchester University’s new pharmacy school Wednesday.
He and his wife walked slowly through the large, well-lit hallways before entering the school’s auditorium, where Bickel, 73, scanned rows of 150 rising chairs.
It’s so steep! he said.
But they’re young people! quipped back his wife, Evelyn.
The Bickels were among dozens of people who came to Manchester’s open house for its new School of Pharmacy. The event drew current and prospective students as well as curious members of the public who wanted a peek at the $20 million, 80,000-square-foot building.
The Manchester University pharmacy school will open for classes Aug. 13. About 70 students are enrolled and were chosen out of 470 applicants. Forty percent hail from Indiana, while the rest come from across the country. The student body will be 54 percent white and 60 percent female, according to university officials.
During the open house, visitors walked through classrooms, office spaces and research and communication labs. They could also tour the auditorium, conference rooms and meeting rooms, which university officials plan to make available to the public.
On the left side of the school’s main entrance, visitors could peek inside an empty art gallery, where officials hope to have a rotating art exhibit curated by faculty from the main campus in North Manchester.
The outside of the building is red brick and stone – a nod to the more traditional buildings on North Manchester’s campus, officials said. But the interior is more contemporary, full of open spaces, crisp lines, metal and glass.
Manchester announced the plan for the four-year doctoral program in October 2009.
At the time, it planned to raise about $12 million to create the program. But in December 2010, the Lilly Endowment offered the school a $35 million gift, instantly propelling the campus five years forward in its planning.
Originally, the school had planned to locate at the Fort Wayne Cardiology building, 1819 Carew St., on Parkview Hospital’s Randallia Drive campus. But the grant, which will cover all startup costs during the first six years, gave the school the flexibility to move forward with a building of its own.
Officials chose the 11-acre site on Diebold Road because of its proximity to Parkview Regional Medical Center and other area hospitals.
The building has a capacity of 280 students. And university officials say it has enough space to house other degree programs.
Dave McFadden, who previously served as Manchester’s executive vice president, is dean of the new school.
In the future, he said he could see the building hosting a program in pharmacogenomics – the study of how genes relate to drugs – or in related administrative programs.
Gov. Mitch Daniels came to the pharmacy school’s ground breaking in August 2011. At the time, he said graduates of the program would have noble, important careers that would benefit others.
Daniels called Indiana the nation’s capital of mail-order pharmaceuticals because of the presence of companies such as Medco and Express Script that have settled in the state.
By opening the pharmacy school, the third in the state, he said Indiana will be even more of a magnet for the industry.
Audrey Rosene, 22, an Indiana University graduate from Hoagland, will be heading to classes in the new building in a few weeks. She was touring the building Wednesday with her mom, Sher Rosene, and said she was thrilled with what she saw.
It’s going to be a great learning environment, she said. It’s so new and state of the art.