Black Hawk College's nursing and health services programs soon will have room to grow.
The college broke ground Wednesday on a three-story, 46,300-square-foot Health Sciences Center at its Quad-City campus in Moline.
College officials say the $15 million project, which will be paid for with 2012 bond funds, should be completed by June 30, 2015.
The center will have eight labs, two classrooms, a 64-seat lecture hall, two conference rooms and faculty offices.
Sherri Mitchell, 29, of Moline, will graduate from Black Hawk in 2016 with an associate’s degree in nursing. She is excited to have a new building, even if it is only for a semester.
“(Black Hawk) needs it badly,” she said. “We can hear the basketball team in the gym that’s right below us, so this is going to eliminate the extra noise in the classrooms.”
College officials and staff, board trustees, teachers, students and community members gathered Wednesday for the ceremonial ground breaking.
Black Hawk president Thomas Baynum said he sees “so much more than a picture of bricks and grass” when he looks at renderings of what the building will look like.
“I also think about the changes taking place at this facility,” he told the gathering. “Not just the changes in the lives of our students who will come here to learn, to train and prepare, but changes in the lives of the patients they treat, the lives that they may in fact help to save.”
The center will house nine programs: associate degree nursing, basic nurse assistant training program, emergency medical services, health information management, physical therapist assistant, practical nursing, surgical technology and veterinary assisting.
The surgical technology and veterinary assistant programs are new to the college and are pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board.
The college also may move some of its short-term health care training programs, such as dialysis technician, personal trainer and pharmacy technician, into the building.
As of Wednesday, there are about 500 students enrolled in health services programs at the Moline campus.
Black Hawk’s health-care education facilities, built in the 1960s, consist of traditional lecture and biomedical science labs, said Bettie Truitt, vice president of instruction and student services.
“Today, our labs have evolved into simulation with computer-based instruction,” she said. “Much of the planning that went into the design of the building centered around the students’ needs for collaborative education.”
Karen Baber, chair of the nursing department, said the department shares a lab with three other programs.
“It’s a challenge to how we schedule, and we have to be very creative in order to get those programs in and utilize the equipment,” she said.
Dianne Abels, chair of the Allied Health and Health and Physical Education Department, said another problem with the current facilities is space, especially with an increasing number of students enrolling in the programs.
“We get more equipment, and we’re always adding more technology, but we don’t have a place to put them,” she said. “Now, we’re excited to be in a place where we have room for them.”
Baber said the new building will provide more collaboration work for students and instructors.