Center for Health and Sciences Education expands

One building continues to grow along with the St. Ambrose University curriculum.

St. Ambrose’s Center for Health Sciences Education plans to expand next spring as the new SAU Master of Physician Assistant (PA) program gears up to begin in the summer of 2014.

“We just don’t have enough space anywhere on campus for the program, nor do we have some of the specialized spaces that they need,” Mike Poster, the vice president of finance at SAU, said.

This addition has been in the works since the Center for Health Sciences Education was constructed in 2010. The administration knew there was a potential for more health care-related programs and left space for that reason. With the PA program beginning, it was the right time to start expanding.

“When they told me about the addition, I was ecstatic,” Clare Kennedy, the director of the SAU PA program, said. “It will give us excellent space.”

To make sure the building included all of the necessary equipment and space, Kennedy spoke with SAU officials, including Sandra Cassady, the dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences, to ensure all needs were met. This does not just include the needs of the PA program. Kennedy and Cassady also met with the department heads for the physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing programs.

“In addition to saying, what does the PA program need, we also said, what didn’t get into the building the first time and could benefit all of the programs this time around,” Poster said.

The added space of 13,000 square feet will include a 40-seat classroom, a 78-seat classroom and 10 exam rooms, which include simulation rooms that appear like a doctor’s office or an exam room in a hospital. There will also be faculty offices, clinical skills labs and department offices.

Kennedy hopes the various departments can interact more in order to better understand each other’s scope of practice. She says this is key because the programs are team-based.

Construction will begin on the building in the summer or fall of 2013 and is slated to finish in the spring of 2014, with time before the PA program officially begins that summer.

“We will have to be cognitive of the fact that there will be some classes going on, but for the most part, it’s all outside the building, but that’s not to say there won’t be some noise,” Poster said.

The addition to the Health Sciences Building will be on the north side of the building, parallel to Marquette Street.

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