Nursing students, faculty gain spacious, updated classrooms

By Joel Umanzor, Staff Writer

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The nursing department has received a face lift with new equipment, classrooms and lab facilities in the newly renovated Applied Arts Building.
The department that was once housed in the antiquated Health Science Building has a home that contains brand new state-of-the- art equipment with features to allow nursing students to excel and gain beneficial hours of practice without the hassle of cramped quarters.
The department was still housed inside of the Health Science Building, which has already been torn down, as late as the summer, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.
“The department had classes going as late as Aug. 14 and had to be completely transitioned from the old building to the Applied Arts Building by Aug. 28, which put a constraint on the move,” King said. “But other than a few cosmetic issues we have done it all with positive responses from faculty and staff.”
The new facilities have provided an upgrade to a department that had been housed in one of the oldest buildings on campus.
New observation rooms occupy what was the old Three Seasons cafe allowing for instructors to watch from behind one way glass windows while students practice on life-sized nursing dolls.
Students are also able to take advantage of a new hospital area, which gives the feel of an actual hospital room.
Nursing student April Lopez said, “I really like it. We haven’t had a chance to fully use all the equipment yet, but the space we have is a lot more than before. Especially in the observation rooms. The changes have been excellent.”
Faculty also have been able to enjoy the changes to their day-to- day activities giving them more space to do their jobs.
King said, “The nursing faculty had a small room with cubicles, which looked almost like a maze. But now they have what feels like a (hospital) waiting room.”
With staff now in their centralized location, the main issue facing the department is handling having classes split up on opposite sides of campus.
“We still have classes during the day in different locations spread out on campus, which provides a bit of an issue for our students going from class to class,” nursing professor Joan Batiste said. “But with renovated facilities it is a small problem to have.”
Lopez also agreed that having nursing classes spread across campus is problematic.
She said that it’s a hassle for those students with classes far apart to make it on time with a short amount of time in between those classes.
Added space is a common theme in every aspect of the renovation and everyone seems to agree the upgrades have given way to improvements for the quality of nursing education at Contra Costa College.
“The (nursing) teachers have always been excellent at this college. It has been a real nice thing to see the improvements happen cosmetically to a crucial department such as nursing,” King said.
“Other than the few things that naturally happen during a move of that magnitude, such as misplacing boxed items to other parts of the campus we may not remember, we have received nothing but positivity in regards to these new facilities,” he said.
Nursing department assistant Janie Franklin said, “We have enjoyed it,” in regards to the new location for the department.