New building will represent ‘the future of Meharry’—the great things to come


Groundbreaking pic

Turning the soil at Meharry Medical College’s groundbreaking for the new Living and Learning Center, (left to right) Aierress Hanna, president of the Meharry Pre-Alumni Association; Brandon Taylor, District 21 Metro council member; Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry president and CEO; Dr. Nelson L. Adams III, chairman, Meharry’s Board of Trustees; Dr. Robert Williams, chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee of Meharry’s Board of Trustees; Zulfat Suara, Metro Council member at large and Meharrian.


Meharry Medical College alumni, friends, employees and students gathered virtually today to break ground for the College’s new 156,000-square-foot Living and Learning Center. The residential facility on the Meharry campus will be a six-story structure that will allow teaching and learning to continue outside of the traditional classroom.


Capable of housing 126 students, the building will include two fully functional classrooms and also allow tutoring sessions and scholarly presentations beyond the typical class day. The Living and Learning Center will also provide a location for students to gather both formally and informally for study groups, tutoring sessions and educational presentations.


“There’s a scripture in Isaiah that says, ‘Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left,’” said Meharry Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Adams III, M.D. ’78. With the Living and Learning Center, “we expand our tent” once again, he said. “This new building will represent the future of Meharry—the great things to come.”


Noting the Meharry-operated Metro COVID-19 assessment site nearby, Meharry President Dr. James Hildreth said the construction of the new facility is a “testament of hope and faith” that normalcy is coming soon. Hildreth said that Meharrians have made it a point to step forward into the Nashville community and help the city grapple with a difficult adversary. “It is my hope that those who take advantage of this building remember to consider the time in which this facility is born, and to be…mindful of being servants to their communities in the same spirit…being available when they are called upon to lead and to care.”


The new building will be erected on what has been known to this point as Parking Lot F at the corner of Morena Street and 21st Avenue North. “I and my class colleagues…will largely remember this ground as the place where we once parked our cars,” said Aierress Hanna, fourth-year dental student and president of the Meharry Pre-Alumni Association. “But I can never forget this moment when a parking lot was so full of promise.


“Whenever I return to Nashville for my class reunions and other Meharry events—I will see this marvelous building and I will remember where I stood on this day,” Hanna said.


Board chair Adams said there is a fascination to looking into the future.


“What I see is the future of health care, continuing to grow generations of providers that only Meharry can send forth,” Adams said, “providers that can focus on minority and underprivileged communities and bring comfort and care to where it’s greatly needed…And that’s what we want others in the community to see at Meharry…one of the great institutions of this city.”