Kent State University Geauga will embark on facility renovations after graduation

The Kent State University Geauga Campus in Burton Township is embarking on two facility improvements that will include constructing a new nursing lab with instructional space and creating a new student learning commons.

In 2019, Kent State Geauga began a comprehensive assessment to determine current and future campus facility needs, including discussions with students, faculty, staff and community members. Now, Lakeland Construction out of Painesville is set to begin construction May 16.

“This is all about our students. We want to give our students the best possible environment for them to study and learn in,” said Angela Spalsbury, dean and chief administrative officer. “This building is 50 years old, so we need to update it

The new nursing skills education center is intended to provide students with modern training equipment in an environment designed to maximize learning objectives, which will lead to post-graduation employment. The classroom and skills lab will be the central training area, and will feature work training stations and classroom seating. Students are expected to benefit from both hands-on experience and faculty interaction.

In addition, two new simulation rooms will simulate a standard hospital room, equipped with high fidelity patient simulators. The central control room will allow faculty members to simulate real-life scenarios for students and observe their performance. The nursing program coordinator will have a dedicated faculty office area,  providing convenient access to the lab and accessibility to students.

The skills lab training stations will feature the opportunity for experiential student training. Each station will be equipped with a medical manikin and headwalls to replicate an actual hospital room.

“Our current library will become our new nursing skills lab and classroom,” Spalsbury said. “We’re really excited about that because our nursing program is the only bachelor of science nursing program in Geauga County. Pretty much all of our nurses continue to stay and work in Geauga County facilities, so we’re proud of our nursing program.

“We currently have one simulation manikin, which is great for students because they can practice high-risk procedures in a very low-risk or zero-risk environment. We’re looking to get a second one.”

The student learning commons will provide an area for students to collaborate, study and gather outside of class. This area will include technology resources and library services, as well as food and beverage services. The student study lounge will be located within the learning commons and provide an open, comfortable area for student collaboration and group study activities.

The quiet study lounge will be a separate area students can use to study and prepare for class, as well as access library services.

“We’re kind of swapping two areas, so the area where our current nursing lab is will become a student engagement center and learning commons, opening up into what is now our student lounge,” Spalsbury said. “The whole side of the building over there will be one big open space with some glass walls.

“We’re also excited to be bringing food service here,” she added. “That is the single biggest complaint we hear from students daily — we do not have food, so we’re excited Kent State Dining Services will be here.

“The learning commons — students will be able to access library services, tutoring and all of the typical academic services. There’ll be space for group study and individual study space, and lots of flexible furniture. This is what students want so they can work together.”

The university is currently fundraising for the renovations project. For those interested in learning more or donating, contact Spalsbury at 440-834-3714. Preston Superstore contributed $20,000 toward the project.

“We’re excited to be a part of these renovations and we hope our gift can jumpstart some more gifts so that all this can come to fruition,” said Jackie Preston, of Preston Superstore.

Melissa Owen, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program coordinator and lecturer, said the increased square footage, modern accommodations and dedicated learning spaces will engage student nurses and provide them with rich learning experiences, like those encountered in the clinical setting.

These experiences are necessary for preparing future registered nurses to become excellent front-line health care providers, she said.

More than 6,000 people in Geauga County are employed in the healthcare industry and 60% of all Northeast Ohio nurses are Kent State graduates.

“We have great students and we want to provide them with the same opportunities they would have if they went to any Kent State campus,” Spalsbury said.

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POSTED: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 1:54pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 2:14pm
Marah Morrison - The News-Herald