Monday, October 10, 2011

New Vol State Allied Health Building: Room for More Students

Allied Health programs are among the most popular on campus and yet they are unable to grow much for one primary reason: space. Plans were unveiled recently for a solution to that problem. It’s a new Allied Health building for Volunteer State Community College, to be constructed in the parking lot between the Mattox and Wallace buildings, with a walkway connection to Wallace. It will be a $10 million project with specialized labs and classrooms. These artist renderings are the first step in the design process and there could be many changes down the road.

“Right now the plans are for the first floor to have Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Health Information Technology (HIT),” said Allied Health Dean Elvis Brandon. “On the second floor, we’ll have Ultrasound, Ophthalmic, Medical Lab Technology and Sleep Diagnostics.”

It isn’t just a matter of more space. The building is designed with unique features for the programs.

“In the EMS suite we’re going to have at least three simulation labs and one big control room. We’ll be able to videotape the simulations for discussion with students later. HIT will have a computer lab and classroom, all in one. It will be a nice workstation for the HIT students. The Ophthalmic program will have actual exam rooms, which will help for training and for lab testing.”

Other major additions include a dedicated Sleep Diagnostics lab. Sleep studies require a carefully controlled environment and specialized equipment. Medical Lab Technology has been housed at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. The new building will have a dedicated lab for the program. The Sonography program will have room for more ultrasound equipment, providing students with greater hands-on time. The building also includes new anatomy and physiology classrooms. They are a required set of courses for Allied Health students.

The extra space will create room for more students and an expansion of the popular programs. Where an allied Health program might currently be capped at 16 students, they could expand to 25 students.

“All of the programs moving in there are at or above capacity. It will allow additional opportunities for more students.”

Dean Brandon says Allied Health programs often require particular equipment and layout considerations and the new building should make a big difference.

“We’ve tried to make programs fit into spaces,” he said. “Now, we will design spaces for the programs. This will be key for moving our programs forward and helping them have even more success.”

The project will begin next spring with the construction of new parking lots across the creek in the open green space near the rear entrance to the college. Ground breaking for the building itself should take place next summer, with completion expected about a year later.

The design work has been completed by SDI/MNI and given to Vol State administrators for review. The College will make recommendations to the Tennessee Board of Regents and then TBR will make the final decision. Once the building project is officially approved, it will be time to break ground and start a new era for Allied Health at Vol State.

First floor and then second floor preliminary layout:

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