RICHLAND, Wash. – Simultaneous demolition and construction efforts are keeping a new, larger home for nursing students in the Tri-Cities on schedule.
The 10,000 square foot facility will provide Washington State University students with much-needed classroom space and state-of-the-art simulation labs. The former Rite-Aid building on Lee Boulevard in downtown Richland will also house space for Kadlec Health System, the owner of the facility.
Jim Hall, director of government and community relations for Kadlec Regional Medical Center, said investing in nursing education is a win-win for patients and students.
“With programs like this expanding, and certainly with facilities like this, it’s going to continue to be a really high attraction for students who wish to become nurses,” he said.
The need for nurses will continue, he said. With a rapidly aging population come additional health services demands, and a shortage of nurses has been widely publicized.
“It’s really exciting to see what’s happening” Hall said: “This partnership that has evolved in the Tri-Cities in support of WSU’s nursing program, the hospitals here in the Tri-Cities plus in Prosser, plus there are some other private and public partners and corporate partners who have contributed to make this happen.”
 
The nursing program at WSU Tri-Cities is competitive, with more than 120 students applying for no more than 48 openings each year, said Patricia Butterfield, dean of the WSU College of Nursing.
 
“From a high-fidelity simulation lab and larger practice lab, to improved classrooms and staff offices, the new facilities will be a catalyst for best preparing nurses across the region,” she said. “I am in awe at how you have all come together for the greater cause to help bring talented, educated and dedicated nurses into your community.”
 
Private and public partners for the project include Kadlec Health System, Lourdes Health Network, Kennewick General Hospital, Group Health Cooperative, Lampson International, Prosser Memorial Hospital Foundation and Ed Revell.
The building is scheduled to open in January 2014 for the WSU spring semester.