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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville University dedicated its new College of Health Sciences building with a special ceremony Thursday morning.

The 30,000 square foot building houses the School of Nursing, School of Applied Health Sciences, School of Orthodontics, Kinesiology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Health Informatics.

The university said the project is part of a larger, $20 million, phased plan to expand the facilities to meet the growing demand of students who continue to enroll. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled this semester.

The building features multipurpose learning environments, a state-of-the-art Simulation Training and Applied Research Center, an Advanced Novel Equipment Workspace, and much more.

Dean Christine Sapienza said the training center gives the students hands-on experience.

"They're able to simulate patient care with regard to prevention and wellness and assessment and treatment," she said.

Anna Farrell is working towards her Master's degree. She wants to be a speech pathologist.

"That's what's most exciting to me because we are able to do things, to practice things that other students don't have the abilities to do," she said.

University officials said the old College of Health Sciences building wasn't big enough.

"We're trying to show the community we are serious about leading in the area of health care. We believe in partnering with all of the local hospitals and health care centers," said JU president Tim Cost.

The university expects enrollment in the College of Health Sciences to increase as much as 30 percent over the next several years, officials said.

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