Admin South undergoes retrofitting to soon house School of Nursing
By Michelle Zengulis, contributing writer
UALR’s nursing school has outgrown it’s current home and is getting a new one in the old Administration South building. Renovations on the building are already underway and the new building is expected to be open in August 2013.
The university received $2.5 million in 2009 from a bond approved by the Board of Trustees to fund the renovation of Administration South into a “Health and Wellness Building to house nursing and other health programs,” according to a statement by university officials.
Ann Schlumberger, professor and chairperson for the School of Nursing, said that the program has outgrown its current location on the fouth floor of the Engineering Technology and Applied Science building. “At this time we have to use the auditorium at St. Vincent Infirmary and in Dickinson Hall in order to accommodate our student numbers.” There are more than 500 students enrolled in the nursing program.
When the renovation is completed the nursing school will have double the space. One floor will have four rooms that are dedicated to hospital simulations in treatments areas such as obstetrics and pediatrics. That floor will have four simulation areas with six to eight beds as well as two debriefing areas. The second floor will have two 100-seat tiered classrooms and a 60-seat non-tiered classroom to accommodate the students.
The national licensure exam for nursing has gone digital so the new building will also house a 100-station computer lab. Schlumberger said that the nursing department has also moved to computerized testing and “the expanded number of computer stations will streamline this process.”
With the new building the nursing department also hopes to enable its clinical partners to utilize the new areas as part of their new staff orientation or staff skill assessments.
Renovations of Administration South have closed down the loop on University Drive that had 15-minute guest parking for that side of campus. David Millay, associate vice chancellor for facilities management, said that there are no plans to alter or remove the loop at this time.
Millay did say, however, that the walkway between Administration South and the Center for Preforming Arts “may be closed at some point to accommodate installation of a new sewer line.”
The Department of Nursing offers a ladder curriculum to students. This means that students can take one year of general education classes, two years of lower level nursing classes and general education and one year of online BSN upper level classes. “The format of the curriculum enables our students to enter the workforce earlier and to complete the BSN courses while employed,” Schlumberger added.
The nursing department has maximized its current space and is unable to expand in certain areas. The new building will offer adequate space and will expand learning areas for the department. “I believe that the new building, coupled with priority acceptance ranking of first time entering freshmen, will be appealing to new students,” Schlumberger said.