Nursing School Expansion

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Becky Lapp is just getting started on her nursing career at Highland Community College. "Right now I'm taking the classes that you need to take to get into the nursing courses," Lapp said. Her goal is start the program next year, but she isn't all that thrilled by what's inside the nursing classrooms right now. "It seems to be smaller classrooms, very out of date. It looks like we don't get to work with many mannequins." But lucky for Lapp and other nursing students, that picture could change if plans move forward on a nearly 14-thousand square foot addition. The new facility would added on to the science center at the college. Faculty are expecting a big boost to the education and the nursing school's reputation. "We don't even compete with the local colleges or universities. We really have to get up to speed and this will allow us to do that," said Nursing Director Shannon Lizer. The addition would include 3 new classrooms and four labs. One of those labs will replace these mannequins with ones that actually simulate human actions, like vomiting, dilating eyes...even giving birth. Labs will also feature patient rooms similar to the real world. "Students will have that feel that they are in a clinic or a hospital and will give them the skills to work in that environments," Lizer said. It's all good news for students like Lapp, who see her career taking off with the proposed addition. There is $4.39 million price tag for the addition. The college foundation plans to run a community campaign to raise the money. The nursing school director says that she's not worried about getting that money because people will realize the benefits these nursing students will provide the community. The nursing director also says
the proposed addition can be used by nurses at Freeport area hospitals and local paramedics, who may need increased training for their jobs. The goal is to open the addition by the fall of 2009.