Shovels and hard hats were the order of the day as Ashland University held its groundbreaking for the new $15.5 million Dwight Schar College of Nursing on June 16. The 46,000-square-foot facility will be located at the corner of Trimble Road and Marion Avenue in Mansfield.
The ceremony, which was held near the parking lot on the west side of the property at 1020 S. Trimble Road, featured opening remarks from Ashland University President Dr. Fred Finks.
“This is a very, very special day. This has been a dream of a lot of people in this Richland County area who are associated with health care,” said President Finks. “It is hard to believe it was just a year ago January when this idea began to take shape, that we could put together something that quick and be here today for this groundbreaking.
“And in a short year we will be back here dedicating this facility as we do plan to be in this facility in August of 2012,” he added. “We hit $8.5 million this week in terms of fundraising and that is in 10 short months and we are very, very pleased with that. It has been a lot of effort put forth by a lot of people.”
The event also included greetings from several members of the Mansfield community, including Donald Culliver, mayor of the city of Mansfield; Kevin Nestor, president of the Mansfield-Richland County Chamber of Commerce; and James Meyer, CEO of MedCentral Health Systems, as well as the co-chairs for the University’s fundraising campaign for the building -- Gayle Gorman Freeman, president of Manairco Inc. in Mansfield, and Dr. Michael L. Amalfitano, president of Mid-Ohio Heart Clinic Inc. Senator Bill Harris, an honorary chair for the campaign, also presented greetings.
Other speakers that presented greetings included Mark Camp ’69, chairperson of the development committee for the Board of Trustees; Faye Grund, dean of the Schar College of Nursing; Dr. Ella Kick, an honorary chair for the campaign; and Kelly Hudak ’13, a student representative from the College of Nursing.
Following the greetings, the hard hats and shovels were brought out and five groups of people participated in the actual groundbreaking.
The new facility will include a variety of clinical practice labs, including the Center for Simulations, Health Foundations Practice Lab, Family Health Practice Lab, Adult Health Practice Lab, Complex Care Practice Lab, ICU/CCU/NICU Patient Room and Advanced Care Lab. Other spaces in the College will include traditional classrooms, faculty/staff offices, student study and lounge areas, and student support spaces.
“This facility will enhance our ability to meet the needs of our students in ways we have not been able to before and allow us to educate and prepare nurses who are ready to meet the health care needs of a complex society,” Finks said.
In August of 2010, Ashland University acquired MedCentral College of Nursing as part of its strategic plan to expand its health care program to meet the demand for qualified nurses in Ohio and the United States.
The University then launched a $15.5 million fundraising campaign – “Compassion. Community. Commitment. Building a Healthy Tomorrow” – for the construction of a new College of Nursing facility.
“The campaign has received a $5 million lead gift from Ashland University alumnus and longtime supporter Dwight Schar and we are now past the halfway mark of this fundraising campaign,” Finks said.
The new building will replace the old MedCentral facility on Glessner Avenue, which is being leased by the University as part of the agreement with MedCentral.
“Currently, students are taking classes in the old MedCentral facility and this building was constructed in 1923,” Finks said. “The nursing faculty, staff and students have seriously outgrown the original structure and need new space specifically designed to accommodate the latest technological advances in nursing education.”
This past fall, 64 freshman students were welcomed to Ashland University’s nursing program. Nursing students complete their first two years of the program on the Ashland University campus and then move to the Mansfield campus for the last two years of education and clinical studies.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.