The expansion and renovation of the Annie Richardson Bass Building will benefit nursing education at the university by adding laboratories, updating medical equipment and increasing classroom space.
Paulette Burns, dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said one of the reasons for the addition to Bass is the need for more simulation labs.
Simulation labs mimic a real hospital and help students practice with real equipment by working on mannequin patients.
Junior nursing major Haley Rohatsch said the equipment currently used in Bass is outdated compared to the equipment used in hospitals.
“When you get into actual nursing, there is a lot more technology and computerized things,” Rohatsch said. “Right now in the Bass building, we're still doing paper charting and things like that rather than electronic charting.”
In addition to the equipment upgrades, Burns said there would be a 70 percent increase in space for students and faculty in the building after the addition and renovation.
Junior nursing major Michelle Colman said she noticed an increasing need for more space in the building since coming to the university two years ago.
“We don’t always have enough desks in our classrooms for all the students,” Colman said. “The program is getting bigger and more well known; those are all great things, but our classes are really crowded.”
Colman said one of the reasons she chose the university was for their interactive nursing program in the simulation labs.
“We need more than one small simulation lab for all the students,” Colman said. “The lab is only open so many hours and since we only have one you can't get a lot of practice in.”
Burns said the number of undergraduates in the nursing program has more than tripled since 2001.
Construction on the Bass building will begin on Dec. 17 and the full addition will be finished in the fall of 2014.