U of U College of Nursing Launches Renovation, Renaming of Building

U of U College of Nursing Launches Renovation, Renaming of Building

Nov 21, 2008 3:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah nursing students, faculty, and administrators gathered today to say a temporary goodbye to their college’s 40-year-old building. The faculty and staff of the nationally ranked college are moving out of the building for 18 months while it undergoes a $23 million renovation to update teaching facilities and provide more space to train nurses. Today’s event featured a ceremonial “bubble wrapping” of the college’s iconic seven-foot statue of Florence Nightingale, the mother of modern nursing.

Perfectly located on the Health Sciences Campus, the 40-year-old College of Nursing building is structurally sound, but in need of updates.  Safety and technological upgrades, additional offices and expanded learning spaces are all critical components of the project.  Renovation will begin in January 2009 marking the success of Phase I of the College’s Capital Campaign: Building for the Future of Nursing Education. When complete, the five-story facility, to be named the Annette Poulson Cumming Building, will allow the college to prepare more nursing faculty and therefore increase student access, readying more nurses for Utah’s hospitals and health care facilities.

“The shortage in faculty is at the root of the nursing shortage,” said Maureen R. Keefe, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing. “Many qualified men and women apply to the College’s nursing programs every year, but two-thirds have to be turned away due to the faculty shortage. With modern technology and new office space, we will be able to recruit and retain top faculty, and make nursing education more available, thus helping to alleviate the nursing shortage.”

Keefe says Utah is experiencing the third most severe nursing shortage in the country and estimates that over 1,000 Registered Nurses are presently needed to fill vacant positions in the state. 

One of the cornerstones of the new building, designed by GSBS Architects, will be the Intermountain Simulation Learning Center (SLC). The center will feature life-size computerized manikins to help create a virtual in-patient/hospital environment and train and evaluate students in patient-care scenarios.  The 12,600 square-foot center, made possible by a $3 million gift from Intermountain Healthcare, will replace the College’s current 5,600 square foot Learning Resource Center, which has been used for over 30 years. 

Technological advances in the SLC will represent an entirely new approach to nursing education, putting the college at the forefront of nursing education with its innovative way of teaching health care concepts and patient-care management, according to Keefe. The center also will be utilized by many health care professions, as well as hospital staff from the surrounding community for certifications.
“Simulation-based learning gives students the chance to respond to real-life, patient-care management situations as they would occur in a hospital or in-patient setting, but in the safety of a structured, practice environment,” said Allyson Dang, a student in the College’s doctor of nursing practice program. “As nurses become increasingly responsible for a larger share of patient care, much of which is technology-intensive, the SLC creates an environment where they can learn these critical skills while optimizing patient safety.”

Other renovations will include a new auditorium and classrooms, additional faculty and staff offices and workspace as well as administrative offices. The fifth floor Emma Eccles Jones Nursing Research Center will be expanded to respond to the success of the college’s extramurally funded projects. It will be a high-performance energy building with the goal of becoming LEED certified at the silver level.

“The Annette Poulson Cumming Building will strengthen resources for all of health sciences at the University of Utah,” said Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences at the University. “The renovation of the building, along with the creation of the new Intermountain Simulation Learning Center, will make it possible for us to better prepare not only nursing students but students from Medicine, Pharmacy and Health.”

Media note: Architectural renderings of the building are available. Contact Katie Schrier for more information.

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Media Contacts

Katie Schrier
College of Nursing
Phone: 801-581-8919
Email: katie.schrier@nurs.utah.edu

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