UNK Nursing Expansion To Have Impact on Central Nebraskan Community

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It's a $19-million project, one that University of Nebraska Kearney officials hope will make a big and lasting impact.

"It gives us a great opportunity to collaborate with the University of Nebraska Medical Center to bring their high quality programs to our campus, and it will begin to fulfill some of the demand we have in rural Nebraska for a wide variety of health care workers," said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the new 30,000 square feet Health Science Education Complex on Friday. The new building is expected to be built in a currently empty lot at the corner of Highway 30 and University Drive.

UNK officials said the larger facility will allow them to admit more healthcare students and improve their learning experiences.

"It will allow us to increase the number of both undergraduate and graduate students that we accept into the program. It will also allow us to dramatically increase the interdisciplinary education that takes place," said Steven Pitkin, assistant dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Kearney Division.

The new facility will allow for hands-on learning with labs for anatomy, physiology, and clinical simulation. It will also allow UNK to offer programs for physician's assistants, physical therapists and clinical laboratory scientists, among others.

"It will improve practice opportunities and it will also increase research opportunities," Pitkin said.

Officials said they hope to have students in the new facility by Fall 2015.