SPOKANE – The WSU College of Nursing Building that broke ground in late 2006 and welcomed its first class of students this past January will be dedicated at an invitation-only event at 5 p.m. on May 7.
The dedication will feature remarks by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown; Rich Hadley, President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated; WSU President Elson S. Floyd; WSU College of Nursing Dean Patricia Butterfield; and Brian Pitcher, Chancellor of WSU Spokane and vice-provost for WSU Health Sciences systemwide. WSU Board of Regents chair Francois Forgette will present a proclamation on behalf of the Regents to students Zach Smith and Brooke Tyrell, accepting on behalf of past, present and future nursing students.
Nursing program founders Betty Anderson, Betty Harrington, Henry Rehder, and Hilda Roberts will be recognized at the event, along with dean emeritus Thelma Cleveland and dean emeritus Dorothy Detlor. In a separate event immediately preceding the building dedication, a sculpture titled “alive lively living for Ramona Hodges” by native Spokane artist Jim Hodges will be dedicated on the lawn east of the Nursing Building as the newest installation in the State Art Collection. A display of nursing history, including a series of nursing uniforms on manikins, will be on exhibit in the building lobby.
The state legislature, led by Sen. Brown, funded $34.6 million in state-bonded dollars to design, construct and furnish the Nursing Building. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray led efforts at the national level to procure nearly $2.5 million in federal dollars over the past two fiscal years to help fund key technology, simulators and other infrastructure for the building.
Dean Patricia Butterfield said, “The nurses we educate, through their excellent practice skills, innovative teaching approaches and cutting edge research, are leading the way in addressing the health care needs of our local communities, our state and our nation. As statewide headquarters for the largest nursing program in Washington, this building is the heart of our leadership in nursing education.”
The building was designed by Integrus Architecture and constructed by Graham Construction, which also built the Health Sciences Building and the Academic Center at Riverpoint. Integrus has a long history with the College of Nursing: They also designed the Magnuson Building that most recently housed the College, and their offices are now housed in the Carnegie Library building, the very first home to the College of Nursing. MW Consulting Engineers provided mechanical and electrical engineering services, just as they have for every building on the Riverpoint Campus since its inception. The three companies are partnering with the WSU Alumni Association and WSU Spokane to underwrite event costs for the building celebration.
Each year, in addition to graduating more entry level nurses than any other educational institution in the state, the WSU College of Nursing prepares nurse practitioners, nurse educators and nurse specialists in its master’s programs that began in 1983, and nurse leaders and researchers through its PhD program, launched in 2007.
Established in 1968 in Spokane as a result of the foresight of several nurse leaders for advanced quality education for nurse clinicians, educators and researchers, initially a consortium of two public and two private educational institutions was named the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education. Today, Spokane-based nursing students from consortium partners Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University, and WSU nursing students statewide, study at the WSU College of Nursing.
Since the College admitted its first class of 37 students, it has grown in size to more than 1,000 baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral students, with 100-plus faculty and more than 50 support staff. The College’s programs are located on WSU’s campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, and Tri-Cities and at a site in Yakima, all connected by the latest interactive technology in distance delivery. Faculty use state-of-the-art simulation equipment, giving students hands-on learning in realistic scenarios that test and enhance their skills. The college is recognized as a national leader in the use of technology, and meets the needs of nurses across the state for refresher and continuing education through its web-based professional development offerings.