Kaskaskia College held a Campaign Kick-Off and
Groundbreaking Ceremony on Tuesday, April 8, for the new “Kaskaskia College
Nursing Education Center” to be built on the main campus near Centralia. The new Center will house the Associate
Degree Nursing (ADN), Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), Certified Nursing
Assistant (CNA) and Paramedicine Programs.
The Nursing Education Center will feature nursing labs
designed with hospital-like spaces as simulation labs. The plans include support areas such as a
conference room, a large student commons space for group study as well as
faculty and reception offices. Six new
classrooms will be fully equipped with instructional technology to enhance
student learning; two will expand to accommodate up to forty students and one
classroom will be specifically equipped with computer workstations providing
state-of-the-art computer-based scenarios and testing.
At the ceremony, Dr. James Underwood, President of KC, explained
that the new nursing building was planned for years ago as part of the
College’s capital campaign projects, which included new construction of an
agriculture building. The State of
Illinois’ transfer of the former Animal Disease Lab on the KC campus to the
College allows for that building to be used as the Agriculture Education
building, and the funds originally allocated for the agriculture building were re-allocated
among the other projects. This
re-allocation is allowing for construction of the Nursing Education Center to
The project is for a 17,750 square foot building to be
constructed at a cost of $5.5 million, of which the KC Board of Trustees has
allocated $5.3 million. The remaining
$500,000 for equipment and furnishings will be raised through private
donations. Tuesday’s event also served
as the kick-off for that campaign.
Completion of the project is expected in June of 2015, with classes
beginning in the fall of 2015.
“Lighting the Way Into the Future” is the theme chosen for
the campaign, and several speakers at the ceremony touched upon it in their
comments. These included Susan
Batchelor, Vice-president of Student Services for KC and former Dean of
Nursing; current Dean of Nursing Janet Garretson, who gave an overview of the
project and the planned educational programs the new facility will allow; KC
alum and current Nursing Instructor Dr. Cristina Meyers, who spoke of the
professionalism of her former instructors and current colleagues who continue
to shape her professional development; MacKenzie Branch, a current
third-semester nursing student who spoke of how the “family atmosphere” of the
Nursing Program helped her gain confidence and her belief that the new facility
will enhance that atmosphere; and Dr. Richelle Rennagarbe, KC nursing alum and
chair of the nursing program at McKendree University, who spoke of the
partnership with KC in which KC students can earn credit toward their Bachelors
of Nursing degrees and students in Nursing Education at the university can conduct
their practicums at Kaskaskia College.
The late and beloved Mary Lou Whitten, who was an
Instructor, Director, and Dean of Nursing during her long career at Kaskaskia
College, was named as the Legacy Chair for the Nursing Education Center
campaign. Susan Batchelor said “Mary Lou was the personification of nursing at
this college. Her legacy is here and
will continue.” Janet Garretson, who
knew Mary Lou for many years, echoed that sentiment. “Mary Lou is present in everything we do, and
she is with us now.”
Several sizable donations have already been made to the
campaign, which had raised $37, 500 prior to the event. At the event, Dr. Dee Boswell, whose wife Sue
retired from nursing after working for 25 years at the intensive care unit at
St. Mary’s Hospital, said, “This is a very proud moment for my wife and me,” as
he donated $25,000 to the campaign.
Campaign Manager Suzanne Christ can be contacted at
618-545-3069 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for those interested in
helping to finance the equipment and furnishings for the new Center.
It was said and echoed by many of the speakers that an
investment in this project will pay dividends for the region with well-trained
nurses and emergency medical technicians.
Individually, should one need medical care in the future, a contribution
now can ensure the availability of state-of-the-art education and training for
the nurses who will see to your care.
As Suzanne Christ said, “Even if everyone gives a little, we
can do a lot.”
Following the ceremony, an outdoor groundbreaking was held
at the site of the new building.