A Healthy Dose Of New Facilities In Area Higher Education

By Cece Nunn, posted Oct 9, 2020
Students began using Veterans Hall, a $66 million facility at UNCW, in August. (Photo courtesy of UNCW)

Major health care learning facilities are up and running at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Brunswick Community College.

Veterans Hall at UNCW, a $66 million project for which construction began in 2018, opened to students in August. The 145,000-square-foot facility houses health and human services degree programs and new programs that are coming.

“It’s providing much needed space for classrooms and applied learning opportunities as well as research and teaching lab space for the college of health and human services and the college of arts and sciences,” said Miles Lackey, vice chancellor of business affairs for UNCW.

New programs coming next year that will be housed at Veterans Hall include respiratory therapy.

“As you think about the growing needs in the health care sector, the workforce needs that exist in North Carolina and really throughout the region, respiratory therapy is a great example,” Lackey said. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a study that said the need for respiratory therapists is anticipated to increase by about 20% over the next 10 years and so we’ve got to be able to serve that need. 

“We’ve got to have the workforce to be able to provide those services and this [Veterans Hall] is all about fulfilling that mission.”

In addition to the CHHS programs, faculty and staff from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Office of Military Affairs occupy space in the facility.

At Brunswick Community College, a ribbon-cutting was held recently for its new Allied Health facility that has 26,000 square feet of educational space, including about 12,000 square feet of renovated space and a 13,750-square-foot addition.

The more than $6 million project has helped to free up other space on campus and was paid for by Connect NC and Brunswick County.

Monteith Construction Corp. was the contractor and the architect was Sawyer Sherwood & Associate Architecture.

The space, which broke ground in March 2019, holds BCC’s associate’s degree in nursing, practical nursing and medical assisting curriculum programs as well as workforce development health care programs.

“Our new space not only has wonderful classrooms but we also have a wonderful faculty that help our students learn with state-of-the-art, state-of-the-practice equipment,” said Gene Smith, president of BCC.

Smith stressed the importance of the faculty using the facility in addition to the students.

He said, “You can have a bright shiny new building but you’ve got to have people in the spaces who can teach the skillset necessary to have a student that can join the workforce.”

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