Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) has officially dedicated the campus’ new School of Nursing Building, a $4.3 million project that is the first addition to the university’s nursing facilities since 1975.
With nearly 10,600 gross square feet, the new building includes teaching labs, a computer lab, faculty and administrative offices and support spaces for the School of Nursing. Construction on the project was completed at the beginning of the fall semester, and students will begin attending classes in the building next spring semester.
“This is the place where professional nurses will be educated to transform the healthcare delivery system and meet the challenges of reform for the betterment of patient care,”Loucine Huckabay, director of CSULB’s School of Nursing, explained. “As the largest component of the healthcare workforce, nurses are uniquely positioned to be in the forefront and take charge to ensure that acceptable, high quality care is available to all of our nation’s diverse populations.”
Dean Ken Millar of the College of Health and Human Services noted how the need for new space became increasingly urgent for the School of Nursing in January 2004, when the school quadrupled its enrollment overnight as a result of support the program received from three of its service partners – Long Beach Memorial Hospital and Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and Long Beach VA Medical Center.
“Anytime we get the chance to do a ribbon-cutting on a new building, it is a great day for our university,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said at the dedication ceremony. “But more importantly, any time we can do this in the type of horrific economy we’ve been dealing with is even more significant.”
Alexander pointed out the unintended, general “health” theme of the university’s three large construction projects that will open within a year of one another, including the Student Recreation and Wellness Center that opened this fall and next fall’s anticipated opening of the campus’ new Hall of Science Building. The School of Nursing Building, however, has its own significance.
“This facility was put together with the help of some private resources, and our Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Hoag Hospital and Long Beach Veterans Hospital partners have played an integral role in making sure this building happened,” Alexander noted. “It also helped that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put $6 million on the table about three or four years ago. We were able to go up there and grabbed half of that as quickly as we could, and that’s why this building sits here today–a combination of private support, our corporate/hospital support and the support of that special state fund.”
According to Huckabay, 67 percent of CSULB’s nursing undergraduate students are underrepresented minorities, and for the majority of them English is a second language. At the graduate level, 40 percent are underrepresented minorities. Upon graduation, 67 percent of graduates choose to work in underserved areas.
CSULB got approval for the nursing building addition from the CSU Board of Trustees in September 2008 and broke ground on the project in October 2009. The addition was funded in part by a 2007 state appropriation of $2.3 million for preliminary plans, working drawings, construction and equipment. The rest of the funding came from donations to the School of Nursing.