Published: Fri Aug 15, 2008Tennessee Tech University unveiled its new, state-of-the-art Nursing and Health Services facility — the first specifically built for the program of study — with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
More than 500 people attended the event, which began in the 282-seat auditorium and was broadcast on a closed-circuit television feed to audience members in four adjacent classrooms.
Various local, state and federal dignitaries who helped make the construction of the $24 million, 67,500-square-foot facility possible — including Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Charles Manning — presented remarks.
Manning told the audience of his planned retirement, saying how proud he is to consider the new building a part of his professional legacy.
TTU’s Glenn Binkley, assistant director of Facilities and Business Services, said the governor directed him before construction of the facility ever began to “make me a good building.” In his remarks at Friday’s ceremony, Binkley told Health Commissioner Susan Cooper to “tell the governor we think we’ve met his challenge.”
Cooper responded by saying the university had “far exceeded” the governor’s challenge. “You have an extraordinary facility here — one that will be the premiere institution in the state,” she said.
Serving both physically and academically as the gateway to Cookeville’s growing medical district, the building will help to double and eventually nearly triple TTU’s nursing enrollment.
It will also serve as a location to provide continuing education courses to the area’s health care professionals, a requirement for maintaining licenses that can currently be met only as near as Nashville or Knoxville.
Some of the building’s innovative features include a $1 million, 60-station computer lab, and three patient care labs that all replicate actual hospital settings: a fundamentals lab for teaching basic nursing skills, a women’s health and pediatrics lab, and a critical care lab.
All incorporate patient simulators that can be programmed to reflect the symptoms of various illnesses, and one of them in the women’s health and pediatrics lab is even capable of delivering a simulated baby.
Other officials present for the event included state Sen. Charlotte Burks, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, former state Rep. Jere Hargrove and Cookeville Regional Medical Center CEO Bernie Mattingly.