Groundbreaking begins a new era for RMU

Hannah Smith, News Editor

Today marked the official start of construction for Robert Morris University’s new School of Nursing and Health Sciences with a groundbreaking ceremony. The ceremony began at approximately 7:30 a.m. with opening remarks from the university’s president, Gregory Dell’Omo.

Dell’Omo said the nursing program started in 2003 with 18 students and now has around 800 students enrolled at all levels of degree. The program is one of the fastest growing schools at RMU along with the School of Engineering and Mathematics.

Senator Matt Smith was also in attendance and said that this will be a benefit for not just RMU, but the entire western Pennsylvania area.

“It’s not only a wonderful project for RMU, and the community here in the airport corridor, but it’s really a wonderful project for all of western Pennsylvania,” said Smith.

Each school will now have their own specific building to call home. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences currently shares the John Jay Center with the School of Engineering and Mathematics. They are the only schools to share a center. It has been a mission of RMU to get each of the five schools their own building.

“I think that it’s absolutely imperative that it has its own location with specialized facilities…we want to be serious about this, so we’re showing that we’re serious about this,” said Tom Hunley, senior vice president of PNC Bank and board of trustees member.

With a strong emphasis on engaged learning, RMU hopes to bring nursing students the best real world experience they can. The building will have all brand new equipment that includes the Research and Innovation in Simulation Education Center (RISE). Students will be able to practice with mannequins and actors to improve skills and lessen medical error.

“We’re going to have the quality facilities to match our quality education that we’re giving,” said former Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, Lynda Davidson.

There are four rooms that can be transformed into an emergency room, delivery room, an intensive care unit room and critical care area. Another feature is the addition of two doctor’s office suites and an apartment style space that the community can also use and train with the faculty and staff.

“It’s going to be an identity for the nursing program as a whole, it’s going to be state of the art, and it’s going to be equipped with the latest things to teach in a real life environment,” said Gary Sokulski, chief operating officer of Reed Smith and board of trustees member.

The building is going to be about 30,000 square feet and two floors with a part that will have a third a computer lab. Faculty and dean suites will be located in the building, with classroom throughout and the RISE center on the top floor.

With all the new building has to offer, Valerie Howard Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences is very excited for the construction to be underway and looks forward to what the new facilities has to give to students.

“As we work together as a team to improve the future of healthcare, it’s a new day; it’s a new building, and a new decade for School of Nursing and Health Sciences,” said Howard.

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