Black Hawk College celebrates start of Health Sciences Center

Originally Posted Online: April 02, 2014, 7:24 pm
Last Updated: April 02, 2014, 7:26 pm
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By Anthony Watt,

MOLINE -- Black Hawk College's new Health Sciences Center is expected to be a cutting-edge learning space for medical students.

The three-story, 46,300-square-foot building is expected to cost $15 million and serve at least 500 full-time students, according to the college. It is expected to be completed by June 2015.

The center will contain the college's seven existing health sciences programs, including associate degree nursing, emergency medical services and practical nursing. Two new programs -- surgical technology and veterinary assisting -- also will be housed there.

"The new Health Sciences Center is one way we're demonstrating how we will stay at the leading edge of health sciences," Bettie Truitt, Black Hawk's vice president for instruction and interim vice president for student services, said Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building at the planned work site just south of Building 3 on the Quad-Cities campus.

There will be two classrooms, a 64-seat amphitheater-style lecture hall, eight labs, conference rooms and faculty offices.

Many of the labs have been designed to give students realistic experiences, said Betsey Morthland, Black Hawk's dean of health sciences. Some will include mock treatment areas with programmable adult and child mannequins able to simulate patients with medical conditions. There also will be a detailed surgery area for the surgical technology students.

College officials have said there was little or no room to expand BHC's health science programs in the existing buildings. On Wednesday, Mrs. Morthland said students now have access to one simulation mannequin, but it is worn out.

The new training areas, designed with help from UnityPoint Health-Trinity, are based on the area's anticipated needs, Mrs. Morthland said.

The veterinary assistant program will train students to work with smaller animals in a veterinary office, she said. That program also is designed to compliment a similar program at the college's Kewanee campus that focuses on treating larger farm animals.

Students will be able to take both programs if they wish.

Of the 500 students initially expected to use the building, 450 will be in the existing programs, Mrs. Morthland said. The others will be in the veterinary assisting and surgical technology programs.

The building is designed to be environmentally friendly. It incorporates efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems with planted areas designed to absorb run-off and recycled construction materials, Ms. Truitt said.

The college is seeking a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification for the building, she said, but may be able to achieve a gold certification. Either designation would place the building in the middle of LEED's four levels.


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