Please consider downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer
to experience this site as intended.
Tools Search Main Menu

$1 million HECap grant will enhance School of Nursing academic experience, serve additional students

August 20, 2019
School of Nursing building and signHelen Wood Hall, home to the University of Rochester's School of Nursing. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

The University of Rochester has received a $1 million Higher Education Capital Matching Grant (HECap) from New York State to enhance the academic experience and serve additional students at the School of Nursing (SON) on the Medical Center Campus.

The grant will help fund a $5 million expansion to the Loretta C. Ford Education Wing of Helen Wood Hall to create new teaching and learning space. SON enrollment has increased 80 percent since 2006, from 346 to 622 students in 2018, and has outgrown its current space. The roughly 9,600 additional square footage will accommodate the continued projected growth of both undergraduate and graduate enrollment, as well as designated space for technology and enhanced experiential learning labs.

Construction is planned to begin next year.

“I’d like to thank New York State, and particularly Governor Cuomo and our state legislators, for providing us with this HECap matching fund, which enables us to move forward with the Helen Wood Hall expansion,” said Holly Crawford, University senior vice president for administration and finance and CFO. “This significant addition to the education wing will create the much-needed teaching space for the School of Nursing’s growing student population and advanced educational technologies.”

In response to health workforce and health professional education trends over the past decade, 21st-century nurse educators must employ active learning approaches that ensure graduates are competent clinicians, employ data-driven clinical decision making, demonstrate complex problem solving skills, and effectively collaborate on inter-professional teams. This requires a dynamic, flexible and highly individualized learning environment.  Experiential learning labs will support a variety of learning activities, including high-fidelity simulation, standardized patient scenarios, virtual/augmented reality experiences, and task-based education for development of psychomotor skills. This new space will also be used as collaborative spaces for case-based learning, team-based learning, and debriefing activities.

“Year after year, student response to simulated learning opportunities—currently limited due to existing capacity—is overwhelmingly positive with students universally requesting additional simulation experiences,” said Kathy Rideout, SON dean and vice president of the Medical Center. “Therefore, the additional space will not only deepen student learning, but also enhance student engagement and student satisfaction with their educational experience at the School of Nursing.”

HECap, established in 2005, is financed through the Dormitory Authority of New York State. On July 30, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $21.3 million in grants for capital projects at 35 colleges and universities across New York to help campuses modernize facilities, enhance student experiences and spur economic development. The funding comes from the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program and is awarded by the HECap Board, which provides matching grants to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities for projects that create construction jobs and drive investment in communities across the state. The University of Rochester’s HECap funding is part of the $3.2 million awarded to colleges and universities in the Finger Lakes region. For every $1 in state matching funds, independent colleges and universities must provide $3 in support of their projects.

Helen Wood Hall was originally built in 1925 to serve as a nursing dormitory. In 1972, the SON was established as an independent school within the University and the building was converted from a residence hall to a school of nursing—dormitories were converted to offices, classrooms, and clinical lab space. Over time, limitations in classroom and clinical lab space restricted necessary program growth. The need to incorporate larger and “smarter” classrooms as well as advanced clinical simulation experiences led to the addition of the Loretta Ford Education Wing in 2006, a 28,000-square-foot expansion of Helen Wood Hall that includes four large classrooms, an auditorium for 170 people, a seminar room and atrium. This current vertical expansion project will expand even more the academic programs and instructional capabilities that are critical to student learning in an increasingly complex health care system.  It will also allow for renovation of significant square footage on the first floor of Helen Wood Hall due to the relocation of the existing skills and simulation labs to the new addition. This will be completed in a separate phase.

Tags: , ,

Category: University News

Contact Author(s)