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Nursing building opens doors

Zoe Storey

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Nursing students have a new place to call home.

The $16.9 million Capstone College of Nursing building opened its doors this week to a recently finished facility built in response to the rapidly growing college. Construction began in October 2008 and concluded in July.

“In the last 10 years, our undergraduate program has increased from 350 students to 1,200,” Dean of the College of Nursing Sara Barger said. “We now have 300 students at the master’s level and a doctorate program. We have previously used classrooms all over campus and finally having the rooms for our students to learn is dynamite.”

The 64,000-square-foot building, located off University Drive across the street from DCH Regional Medical Center, provides a highly interactive education for nursing students, according to a UA news release.

“Our goal is to produce graduates who can provide quality, safe care and who feel comfortable in a technology-driven environment,” Marsha Adams, professor of nursing and assistant dean of the undergraduate program said. “We want to reduce the orientation time for our graduates when they start with a health care agency.”

Two seminar rooms, three classrooms, computer labs, two study rooms and a student lounge, as well as an auditorium with seating for 148, are featured in the Neo-classical, three-story building, according to the news release. A 34-bed clinical practice lab, six computer-controlled patient simulation rooms in the Simulation Center for Clinical Excellence will contribute to the nursing students’ education.

Shelley Jordan, director of advancement for the College of Nursing, said the simulation labs contain life-sized, computer-controlled simulators that imitate real patient conditions. The students can come into a simulation lab with a scenario such as a drug overdose or gunshot wound and gain hands-on experience as the situation is broadcasted to classrooms.

“All the amenities are so high-tech; it is nice,” Chelsea Colagross a junior majoring in nursing, said. “Everything is more technologically based and [the facilities] help learning.”

The building will be dedicated at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10. UA President Robert Witt, Barger and guests representing nursing faculty, staff, students and alumni are expected to attend the ceremony.

“A new Capstone College of Nursing building serves as a visible example of The University of Alabama’s commitment to providing our students with a state-of-the-art learning environment,” Witt said.

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Nursing building opens doors