The construction team is working to finish the move into the new Human Health Building, scheduled for completion Sept. 21. Home to both nursing and physical therapy, the new, eco-friendly facility provides more resources for students.
“Health science and physical therapy are big programs in high demand,” said Colette O’Connor, officer of development. “For schools to grow, they need space and facility for students. In such a growing field that provides high employment, there is a clear urgency of educating the students.”
Costs for the building and equipment were estimated at more than $60 million, according to Gary Moore, associate dean of nursing and Cheryl McPherson, assistant dean of finance.
Among these are technologies and facilities to provide nursing, health science and physical therapy students with more space for studies, according to O’Connor. The building consists of three 50-seat classrooms, three 80-seat classrooms, one distance-learning room, a 200-seat auditorium and two 100-seat classrooms.
“The new Human Health Building allows us more room for simulated clinical experiences, which prepares students for actual work with people,” Moore said. “It also gives us the opportunity for our students to interact with members of other disciplines. With other students in the same building, the two groups can meet. Interdisciplinary collaboration, inter-professional collaboration — it’s a lot of opportunity.”
Although it is not a substitution for the real experience, the use of robotic mannequins found in mock hospital rooms that behave in a similar manner to real patients will help prepare students for the real world of nursing according to O’Connor.
“With a realistic hospital environment and simulator operator behind a glass window, the students will be better prepared in the clinical setting,” O’Connor said. “In this way, they can test on simulators before interacting with a human life.”
In addition to a variety of resources for students, the building is also environmentally friendly and being applied for Platinum LEAD. This means the Human Health Building will be one of the few buildings in the country and the first in Michigan to be made entirely from recycled material with naturally sourced heating and cooling systems, according to Moore.
Cork floors, a solar paneled roof and underground pipes that maintain temperature throughout the building are just a part of its environmental attributes.
The outside will provide a place for students to meet and relax. With the reflection garden in the central area and wetlands connecting with Beer Lake, this is an all-around natural, green, peaceful building, according to O’Connor.
An open house will be held in the building Sept. 4 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. for students to get their first experience of the new facility.
“Everybody is really excited about the possibilities (of the new building),” O’Connor said. “Facilities will be closer. Nursing and physical therapy students will have more opportunities to work together, providing cross-pollination and collaboration. It’s a win-win for the faculty and community.”