Highland Trustees Approve Drawings for New Nursing Wing
Highland Community College Trustees have approved the final floor plan schematic and construction time table for a new nursing facility from the campus architect, R.L. Johnson and Associates. The 13,694 square foot addition to the Natural Science and Health building will be available for students beginning in the fall 2009 semester. The Heath Care Wing, first proposed in 2004, will provide more than 100 nursing students with four labs and three dedicated classrooms. Currently these students utilize shared lecture hall space and one lab to practice skills before they enter clinicals and throughout their training. Space has been crunched for some time, and resourceful instructors have pulled hospital-style beds into the hallway to provide more teaching space.
“Even though we are short on space, our students excel,” said HCC President Joe Kanosky. “We’re proud to report that our graduates pass the nursing licensure exam at a higher rate than the state average. Our graduates are working as nurses throughout the region. The new wing is going to build on our current success and greatly enhance our teaching and training capabilities.”
The project has already gained a positive response from the health care community. FHN, already partnering with the College to provide the evening ADN program, will contribute significant funding to help equip the new labs with sophisticated technology. The new technology, especially the patient simulator, is substantially different from the “Annie” mannequins that many people remember from CPR or other types of health care training. The SimFamily, including SimMan, Noelle, and SimBaby, are computer operated mannequins that can present health care problems found in real emergency and clinical settings: their hearts race, their eyes dilate, and Noelle, a woman, even gives birth.
“FHN’s financial support will advance the health care training for the entire community,” said Dr. Shannon Lizer, Highland’s director of nursing. “Not only our students and FHN employees, but emergency medical professionals and other health care workers, will have the opportunity to train or advance their skills in these sophisticated teaching labs. I expect this new technology will accelerate the learning curve for our students and local providers.”
The next step for Highland is to submit a formal application to the Illinois Community College Board. All community colleges are required to seek approval regardless of whether or not state funding will support the capital project. The College anticipates that approval will be granted by September 1, 2007, and the project will move forward.
Highland, with the support of the Highland Community College Foundation, will be seeking private funds to complete the construction. Public funds are not available, and the state cannot project when state funding will again be possible for capital projects of this nature.
A project time line and the schematics are posted on the College’s web site.
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