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Fairfield University School of Nursing Satellite Campus

Fairfield University
Austin, TX
24,000 square feet
May 2023
RDG Planning and Design
Higher Education Architecture Interiors

Building on the success of the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Sciences’ programs in Connecticut and the national need for new nurses, Fairfield University began exploring options for a satellite campus in other regions of the country. Newman worked in collaboration with Fairfield’s facilities team and program experts RDG to identify spatial needs, define parameters for a satellite location, and undertake site assessments for an accelerated nursing and anesthesia training program. Fairfield leased two floors of raw space in a recently constructed medical office building in Austin, Texas, and Newman embarked on a fast-track process to complete the new satellite campus in fourteen months, from concept design to opening.


The new Austin nursing program welcomed its first cohort of students in May 2023 and offers a fifteen-month accelerated program for ASDNU degrees. The program can accommodate sixty students in each of two daily sessions and uses the latest in medical equipment and small classroom settings to provide a practical and engaging education. The two-floor arrangement enables a clear separation between public, group learning, and administrative space on the third floor and student-only access to simulation spaces on the fourth floor. Simulation areas replicate a range of patient environments from an operating room and ICU to at-home care. Assessment rooms adjacent to each learning environment enable observation.

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Campus Connectedness

The design aims to feel like the main campus; university branding and Fairfield red highlight collaborative areas complemented by neutral tans, wood tones, and white. In addition to a large student lounge, community spaces interspersed in the circulation spaces on both floors provide places for students to connect. Technology in the main classroom space enables classes to remote into Fairfield’s campus, with integrated speakers, microphones, and monitors.

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Health & Wellness

The project’s sustainability features include plentiful use of natural light, all LED lighting, occupant control of lighting conditions, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and low-VOC paints and coatings. The vending machines in the community room provide a balance of health and comfort food to support student wellness. The communicating stairs between the two floors support fitness as part of the simulation environment.

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Meet the Team Involved

Katelyn Chapin
Katelyn Chapin


Eric O'Donnell
Eric O'Donnell