Meharry Enters Building Phase: Cal Turner Family Foundation Gives $3 Million for New Campus Center

Cal Turner Family Center

Meharry Medical College is ushering in a new era of growth with approximately $35 million in renovations and new construction planned over the next 24 to 36 months.

Its latest project is the Cal Turner Family Center, made possible by a $3 million gift from former Dollar General Chairman and CEO, Cal Turner Jr. The Turner gift, along with other financing, savings and tax credits, brings Meharry to about one-third of its goal of raising the $20 million needed for the center. Preliminary plans call for an approximately 80,000 square-foot-building located in the center of campus that is scheduled to break ground this fall. Auditoriums, study and classroom space, a food court, a visitor's center, a space for conferences, events and educational seminars are planned for the center.

"The Cal Turner Family Foundation believes in the mission of Meharry Medical College," said Turner who added that both Dollar General and Meharry share a passion for serving the most deserving customer base. "This is the single largest gift the Cal Turner Family Foundation has ever made and having our name on this new building, at the heart of the Meharry campus, is a cherished honor of our family."

Meharry Medical College President and CEO, Wayne J. Riley, M.D., said the project is part of his bold and expansive vision for the college.

Since Dr. Riley took office in January 2007, Meharry has spent $25 million on campus renovations. The current projects will bring that total to about $60 million, he said.

Those projects include New Alumni Hall, the first new building on campus since 1978. The facility, which recently opened, includes a 350-person-capacity meeting space and accommodations for events and campus activities. Meharry also added a coffee shop, the Salt Wagon Café, which is located next to New Alumni Hall.

Projects currently under construction include the Pamela C. Williams, M.D. Medical Simulation and Clinical Skills Center and the Delta Dental of Tennessee Simulation Center.

Located in the basement of the S.S. Kresge Learning Resource Center (LRC), the Pamela C. Williams, M.D. Medical Simulation and Clinical Skills Center will be approximately 8,000 square-feet and will consist of examination rooms recreated for students to experience operating, maternity trauma and ICU situations.

Similarly, the 3,300-square-foot dental simulation center, which will be housed on the fourth floor of Meharry's School of Dentistry building, will have 40 simulation units and computer monitored instruction for students. It was made possible by a $770,000 gift from Delta Dental of Tennessee.

Current and recent renovation projects include Hulda Margaret Lyttle Hall, which opened in 1930 and will be used for office space and the LRC, which is getting energy saving upgrades such as sun screens and energy efficient restrooms. The renovations of the LRC will enable Meharry to uphold its commitment to going "GREEN" and attain LEED certification.

Dr. Riley said these upgrades help to establish Meharry's national prominence and importance to Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Meharry has the second highest endowment among all Nashville colleges and universities, approaching $105 million. It employs almost 1,000 people and was ranked as one of Nashville's top 40 largest employers. Additionally, each year, Meharry provides $26 million in uncompensated medical and dental care to Nashville's uninsured.