Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences Takes Shape

— originally published January 30, 2014

MDCHS_exterior main entrance

Murphy Deming main entrance

The latest addition to Mary Baldwin College, the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS), has come a long way since its initial conception in October 2011. Today, a clearly defined entity of MBC stands in Fishersville, rapidly approaching completion. Construction began on MDCHS’ central building last spring, thanks to a $15 million lead gift from Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 as part of Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin College.

MDCHS is located on a new 30-acre branch campus in Fishersville, Virginia, approximately seven miles from MBC’s historic main campus in Staunton. When completed, the 55,000-square-foot flagship building will be home to the doctor of physical therapy (DPT), the doctor of occupational therapy (OTD), and eventually the master of science in physician assistant studies (MSPA) programs. The facility will include 40 offices, four classrooms, seven clinical laboratories, two research spaces, and numerous collaborative learning areas.

MDCHS_exterior south entrance

Murphy Deming glass curtain wall

Brent Douglass, director of facilities management at MBC, is overseeing the project and says it’s on target for completion by May 1, 2014, when the college will begin furnishing the building. The first group of students in the DPT and OTD programs will start courses in mid-June. To date, 70 percent of the building is finished. Its structure and exterior masonry are complete, 80 percent of the windows are installed, permanent roof installation is half-finished, and framing of the glass curtain walls on the north and south sides of the atrium is in progress. Interior partitions are framed, and drywall is being installed on the first and second floors. All mechanical systems are complete, and permanent electric, water, and gas service installation are underway. Landscaping and site work around the building should start in March.

The swift development of MDCHS has not come without its challenges, however. Kjellstrom + Lee Construction workers have been laboring six days per week for months.

“They continue to do a remarkable job keeping the project on schedule, in spite of higher than normal rainfall last fall and abnormally low temperatures this winter,” said Douglass.

Donors carry the project forward through contributions that fund everything from state-of-the-art technology and equipment to the building’s finishing touches, and they have a special opportunity to make their mark. Naming opportunities are available starting at the $25,000 level. Donor names will be prominently and elegantly displayed within the building, according to Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Sherri Mylott. “This is an open invitation for members of our community to take part in this exciting project, which adds valuable educational offerings to our college,” she said.

For information on MDCHS naming opportunities, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 800-622-4255 or