Construction of the new 65,000 square foot Frances M. Maguire Healthcare Innovation Center, seen in this illustration, will become the centerpiece of the Frances M. Maguire Healthcare Innovation Campus at Gwynedd Mercy University. (Image courtesy of Gwynedd Mercy University)

Gwynedd Mercy University will build the Frances M. Maguire Healthcare Innovation Center and Campus on its main campus in Gwynedd Valley, thanks to a $10 million gift from the Maguire Foundation, the university announced May 4.

The new 65,000-square-foot facility and surrounding area is named for the late Frannie Maguire, a 1955 graduate of then-Gwynedd Mercy College who held a lifelong commitment to preparing future health care leaders providing compassionate care in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy.

Construction on the center is expected to begin within the next nine to 12 months. It will include simulation and skills labs to teach students practice clinical skills and address complex patient scenarios.

The center also will provide space for inter-professional collaboration among programs. Nursing students will be able to collaborate with Public Health, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, Respiratory Care, Radiation Therapy, Radiologic Technology, Psychology and other students to provide optimized patient care.

“We cannot think of a better way to honor the memory of our beautiful mother,” said Megan Maguire Nicoletti, president and CEO of the Maguire Foundation. “She loved her time at GMercyU, and always took a genuine interest in helping future generations of students succeed.”

The development of the health care innovation campus is part of a broader strategic plan to build on the university’s reputation for preparing graduates who make a difference in the communities where they live and work.

“The Maguire Foundation has been a faithful supporter of Catholic higher education and the Maguires have been steadfast and generous friends to Gwynedd Mercy University,” said Deanne D’Emilio, president of Gwynedd Mercy University. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue honoring the life and legacy of Frances M. Maguire with a state-of-the-art Healthcare Innovation Center and Campus dedicated to expanding our ability to provide the unique and distinctive Mercy preparation for tomorrow’s nurses and other health care professionals in line with our overall vision to be the Catholic university leader in professional and health care education.”

This latest gift from the Maguire Foundation brings its total commitment to the Gwynedd Mercy to more than $20 million. In addition to providing scholarship support to more than 50 university students through the Maguire Scholars Program that began in 2012, the foundation has supported the university’s nursing program through the naming of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions and Frances M. Maguire Hall, the main academic building for nursing, health professions and science students.

The announcement of the new project joins other recent improvements to existing campus facilities, including the addition of a loop road and pedestrian walkways, and the planned renovation of one of its residence halls, scheduled to begin this spring.

Gwynedd Mercy sold a 150-acre parcel near its front entrance along Sumneytown Pike for $31.5 million last March to Beacon Capital Partners.

The firm develops life science research and development facilities and is focused on expanding its footprint in the Philadelphia area, according to a statement from the university.

Proceeds from the sale will be used to support future “strategic investments” at the university, according to an earlier statement.

In February 2020, the university added a state-of-the-art virtual environment for radiation therapy training (VERT) machine that offers an avenue for students to practice simulated radiation therapy techniques with 3D views and life-size visualizations.

In November 2020, the university added an Anatomage Table, a life-size dissection table providing an interactive look at the human body and animals. The university also recently added a new Nursing Anne simulation manikin with interchangeable parts and accessories to create a variety of simulated patients with various skin tones.

“As we approach our 75th anniversary and prepare to launch a comprehensive campaign, we remain focused on adding more state-of-the-art facilities and technologies supporting innovative teaching and learning initiatives designed to enhance existing programs and support new market-responsive programs,” said D’Emilio. “We are also focused on providing additional scholarship support to make a GMercyU education even more accessible to our current and future students.”

A 15-acre tract of the 160-acre campus was sold to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 2021. The seminary, which bought the parcel for $10 million with another $3 million contributed by the Maguire Foundation, continues to plan its move to Gwynedd Valley beginning with the 2024 academic year.

None of the university’s projects announced in recent weeks are related to the seminary’s move, according to officials.