WT Nursing’s New Downtown Amarillo Home Celebrated in Official Grand Opening

Chip Chandler Oct 27, 2021
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WT Nursing’s New Downtown Amarillo Home Celebrated in Official Grand Opening

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University officially celebrated the Oct. 27 grand opening of a facility carefully conceived to increase the University’s already sizeable impact on healthcare in the Texas Panhandle.

The Baptist Community Services Nursing Education Floor opened for classes Aug. 23 at its location on the second floor of the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center, 720 S. Tyler St.

On Oct. 27, the move of WT’s Department of Nursing to the Amarillo Center was officially celebrated in a ceremony that included remarks from WT President Walter V. Wendler; Mike Wartes of BCS and High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation; Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, dean of the WT College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and Dr. Holly Jeffreys, department head of WT’s Department of Nursing. Mati Rigsby, who is earning a bachelor of science in public health and a master of public health in epidemiology and biostatistics at Texas A&M University, represented The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents as a student regent.

“WT provides the most highly qualified healthcare professionals in the entire region, and with this new facility, we will increase our ability to meet regional needs, including in rural healthcare, as outlined in our long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World,” Wendler said.

The WT 125 plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, for which High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation’s gift has played a significant role in the $80 million already raised.

The Amarillo Center now houses 250 undergraduate bachelor of nursing students and about 20 nursing faculty and staff. In its 25,000 square feet, the BCS Nursing Education Floor includes state-of-the-art simulation labs and other innovative educational spaces.

Established in 1974, WT’s Department of Nursing in its College of Nursing and Health Sciences currently provides about 70 percent of nurses employed throughout the Texas Panhandle.

WT nursing graduates, over the past five years, have averaged a 97 percent score on the National Council Licensure Examination, required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to test the competency of nursing school graduates in the United States and Canada. Nationally, the average is 85 percent; in Texas, it’s 87 percent.

“With our move to downtown Amarillo, our Department of Nursing will continue to provide excellent education for students at affordable costs to both students and the state, and our student nurses and faculty members will be more available to contribute to both the Amarillo-area health community and to the overall wellbeing of the Texas Panhandle,” Nelson said.

Among other recent accolades, the WT nursing practitioner program was named the best in Texas by Nursing Process. WT’s family nurse practitioner program was ranked No. 4 in the country by College Choice recently ranked the online RN to BSN program as the third best in the country, and also recently named WT one of the 10 best online nursing schools in the country.

WT faculty and students engage in nursing outreach including the semiannual Inner City Health Fair. Through these health fairs, WT nursing students provide health screenings, immunizations, hygiene products, food, and other services to the homeless population in Amarillo. Additionally, the Department operates the WT Nursing Health & Wellness Clinic. Services offered through this facility include annual wellness visits, acute sickness visits, flu immunizations and medication administration, such as recurring injections — all with no copay.


Photo: Celebrating the official grand opening of the Baptist Community Services Nursing Education Floor on Oct. 27 were, front from left, Mike Wartes, chair of Baptist Community Services board of trustees; Dr. Holly Jeffreys, WT's Department of Nursing head; WT President Walter V. Wendler; Madi Rigsby, student regent for The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents; and Dyke Rogers, co-chair of the One West campaign; and, back from left, Dr. Todd Rasberry, WT vice president for philanthropy and external relations; Steve Dalrymple, president, chief executive officer and chief legal officer of High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation and BCS; Jim J. Brewer, One West campaign leadership committee; Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, dean of WT's College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and Terry Rogers, co-chair of the One West campaign.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.