New nursing, allied health building set for August opening, president says

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Weather delays completion of the $33.2 million building.

By Lauren Nichole Barrera

The nursing and allied health building is set to open its doors Aug. 8, President Robert Zeigler said Feb. 1.

Zeigler anticipated the building would be up and running in July, but rain temporarily halted construction.

A bond issue passed in November 2005 approved $450 million for the Alamo Community College District for renovation and new construction.

This college received $79 million for renovations, a garage and two buildings.

The $33.2 million three-story nursing and allied health building on Howard Street southwest of the parking garage will have 120,000 square feet. 

The building will house dental assisting, dental laboratory technology and medical assisting, which compose the allied health department. Additionally, the building will house the nursing department. 

The first floor will house a mock reception area for students to train in mock situations, allied health Chair Stella Lovato said. 

Dental assisting and medical assisting students will learn how to schedule patients and check in patients. 

This includes procedures such as checking on patients’ insurance.

The second floor will be a mock hospital. 

Zeigler said even though the hospital offers training for students, it could also give them some real-life experience.

For example, patients injured in a nearby accident could be treated there. 

A parking area in the rear will hold ambulances, and students will be able to work next to emergency medical technicians and learn from them as well as their professors, 

Lovato said the building will have cameras installed in classrooms.

“The cameras are being installed because when students are taking tests, we are hovering over their shoulders trying to grade them on their performance,” Lovato said. “Now we will be able to observe them without making them feel uncomfortable.”

Zeigler said when the building is completed, user groups will work with architects to evaluate the functionality of the building and make sure everything is working properly while still maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Zeigler also said that when the building opens, it probably will not have a formal name. The names of buildings are assigned either by contributions or by people who have made a major impact on the college.

“The Oppenheimer family has been very generous and has made many financial contributions. That’s why we have the Oppenheimer building,” Zeigler said. He referred to the Susan B. Oppenheimer Education and Training Center, which houses continuing education classes.

The opening of the nursing and allied health building also will increase the enrollment rate, Lovato said. The building will allow allied health and nursing programs to teach more students. Those students also will take other courses in the college.

“I think the building will have a positive effect on the campus,” Lovato said. 

“More students will enroll giving us the need for more professors.”

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