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September 30, 2014

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Touro University gets a makeover

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Heather Cory

Whiting and Turner employees John Burnett, left, and Ben Scott take measurements at Touro University Oct. 17. The university is getting a facelift to lose its warehouse look.0

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John Burnett, foreground, and Ben Scott take measurements at Touro University, which is getting a facelift to change the warehouse look.

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Touro University is under construction to lose its warehouse look.

One of Henderson's most unassuming landmarks, Touro University, is getting a facelift that university officials say will make the building's exterior a better projection of its interior.

In 2004, Touro opened its Henderson campus in a converted warehouse near American Pacific Drive and Gibson Road, just west of U.S. 95. Since then, the campus has expanded three times, to 140,000 square feet, and is eying a fourth expansion that will include a neighboring building and more than double Touro's current size.

When the façade renovation is complete, Touro's campus — which is visible from U.S. 95 just south of the Auto Show Drive interchange — should go from visible to noticeable.

But first, as Touro's programs in education and medicine continue to grow, university officials are looking outward. The façade improvement, which began in October and is expected to be complete by mid-December, will add columns, canopies and other architectural embellishments to help the university shed the warehouse look.

"Our students have commented from Day One about the fact that from outside, it looks like a warehouse, but once you get inside, it's a superb educational facility," Touro Nevada Senior Provost Dr. Michael Harter said. "Our first group of physician's assistant students, which just graduated, would call this their little warehouse in the desert — and it was said lovingly."

Harter said establishing the school in a warehouse was the best choice for Touro, because it has allowed the university to grow naturally and mold the building according to its needs — an opportunity he said it would not have had with a building designed and built as a school.

But now that the school is on the verge of filling the warehouse, he said it is time to part with that aspect of Touro's past.

"We want the façade to create a sense that this is, in fact, an academic facility rather than a warehouse," Harter said.

Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].

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