By Linnea Cavallo and Kristen Griffith, Whetstone staff writers
The nursing department has gone from a space where cockroaches roamed their labs to a fully-renovated bug-free building.
The new Health and Science building – formerly the federal Frear Building – has opened for use this spring.
“It has been very busy and a challenge getting it all together,” said Dr. Robert Contino, chair of the nursing department. “We are still unpacking everything and there is still a recycling bin behind the building.”
Although the building was opened to nursing students a month ago, many technology problems continue to be worked out. For example, some classrooms and offices do not have consistent Internet access.
“I didn’t have a phone in my office until last week,” Contino said. “It adds to the stress but I think in the next two weeks everything will work.”
Some of the students said they didn’t like that the building wasn’t ready to go.
“We do not have a room where we can sit and study since they are still renovating,” said sophomore Cierra Brown. “The fact that it is not on campus makes it a little harder as well.”
The building, at 300 S. New St., is less than a mile from Wesley’s main campus.
Although the building has had some problems during its first month, many students and faculty believe the new building is a great boost for the nursing department.
Prior to being in the Health and Science building, the nursing department was in the basement of College Center, under Dulany Hall.
“We had cockroaches in our labs and fat from the kitchen would leak through the ceilings sometimes,” Contino said. “It was also very noisy being under the dining hall, especially when Campus Community School was here.”
In the old building, the nursing department simulation labs were closets. The department now has four classrooms, a meeting room, a conference room and simulation labs.
“The larger building allows for a larger simulation lab so our students can practice real life situations in a controlled setting,” said Dr. Karen Panunto.
The new simulation labs resemble hospital rooms with several beds and mannequin-like SIM men that can breathe, have a heartbeat and act like people.While in College Center, the nursing classes were split up based on what year they were in the nursing major (freshman, sophomore, junior or senior). Now, all of the students are in classes together.
“I like working with all of the nursing students as a whole, rather than being split up,” said sophomore Frank Fiorella.
The building was free and renovations were paid for through grants and donations. The school, however, pays for yearly maintenance, which costs about $150,000.
The Health and Human Services gave the department their furniture and lab equipment.
“Any time you open up a new building it is going to cost money,” Contino said. “But, none of the money being used to cover these costs is coming from the school budget.”