Allied Health Sciences Building to open Fall 2011

Take a look across the street from the Wells Fargo Sports Complex to see the beginning of a $46 million addition to UAA.

The Health Sciences department is eagerly awaiting the opening of their new building, set for fall 2011.

The hefty price tag was funded by state appropriation. The project seems to have dueling agendas. Not only is the Health Sciences department in need of better facilities, but also health care jobs continue to grow each year, even in today’s economy.

The new building is part of a long term, four building plan that will co-locate all health science programs across the street.

The first building will house the Allied Health program, the nursing program and the WWAMI program, which is a clinical medical education program that stretches across five states.

Chancellor Fran Ulmer believes the building will be “the beginning of what I believe will be a very important piece of how the University of Alaska serves Alaskans training our health care workers and making certain that Alaskans have the kind of quality health care that our home grown Alaskans can deliver.”

According to faculty, one of the most promising parts of the design is the simulation center on the second floor. It will mimic that of a critical care room and bring students from different disciplines together to participate in scenarios together as part of their coursework.

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Vice Provost of Health Programs Jan Harris has high hope for the collaboration.

“I’m really looking forward to having all the programs in the building and having the opportunity to get together and work together,” Harris said. “I think it will be a great space for that kind of thing.”

Harris notes that simulations occur right now, but usually on a demonstration or single program basis. The new building will provide numerous new opportunities.

“Students will practice responding to a particular patient crisis and students from a number of programs will be able to do that together,” Harris said. “The programs that are housed there as well as others on campus can come together and learn to take care of patients and to communicate with each other successfully so they are better prepared when they go to the workplace.”

In addition to the many laboratories and simulation rooms, Chancellor Ulmer adds to the list a state of the art visual virtual lab. The final design does not come until later stages of the construction and details on the virtual lab are disclosed minimally, according to Facilities and Planning.

The second phase of the building, which is not currently funded, would take the simulation center even further to include specialty programs as well as partners from around the community.

“Our goal is to have it be a really good partnership. There are some networks being developed by people who are interested in simulation out in the community in various settings, primarily hospitals, as well as the health educational programs,” Harris said.

For now the focus remains on getting the first phase of construction complete and opening the doors of the building in fall 2010.