ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — Murray State College officials have plans to turn a vacant lot into a new medical education facility.

The 57,000 square foot Southern Oklahoma Nursing Education Center, or SONEC, is expected to cost more than $25 million.

The new two-story facility in Ardmore will house classrooms, simulation labs, and faculty offices for 35 new Murray State jobs. 

"It will be a place where you can get any level of nursing education," said MSC President Dr. Tim Faltyn. "It makes Ardmore the hub for that educational enterprise."

The college has already received a $5 million grant from the Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation, and is hoping to raise rest of the money needed for construction of the building.

"This is a large commitment for our foundation," said SOMF president Mary Kate Wilson. "However, we are a hospital-convergent foundation, and so it was important and resonated with our trustees and their pleas to be able to provide the support."

With more classrooms, simulated training and room for MSC partners to come and teach, the SONEC facility will help nursing students at all stages of growth, at any time.

"They can move out into the workforce for a little while; they can come back; everything counts... they're guaranteed access," Faltyn said.

SONEC graduates will also help address the growing nationwide shortage of nurses.

"Students do tend to stay where they go to school and where they live, so having this opportunity here in this local community definitely will benefit the nursing shortage here," said Mercy Ardmore chief nursing officer Katie Finder.

"When you take an excellent program and you give them the facility they need, the sky's the limit," Faltyn said. "We're not just creating nurses; we're adding jobs and being a productive part of our community."