IRVINE, California, February 28 - Showcasing one of the top nursing programs in the state, Riverside City College (RCC) welcomed students and the public at a dedication ceremony for its new state-of-the-art facility on February 9.
Project completion comes 10 years after first conceptualized. gkkworks developed the Final Project Proposal to achieve state funds for the majority of the project's construction cost. Additional funds came from the Riverside Community College District Foundation, and the $350 million Measure C bond approved by voters in 2004 for various expansion and renovation projects. The complex will be the first LEED® Certified project on the campus, and is the outcome of the district's Green Initiative to ensure that all new projects meet sustainability guidelines.
The $61.1 million complex has two wings, with the nursing program housed in the 37,000-square-foot, two-story northwest wing; and the math and science program spread through the four stories of the 95,000-square-foot southeast wing. Math, the foundation of all science, occupies the first floor, with physical sciences, life sciences, and chemistry on the three floors above. The casework on each floor is completely customized to the needs of each field of study. The two wings of the new complex create a quadrangle space on the campus, surrounding a student gathering area, amphitheater, healing garden, and poisonous-plant education garden.
The new School of Nursing triples existing classroom and lab space, and allows consolidation of the district's nursing program. The building includes a virtual hospital, complete with 23 human-patient simulators capable of demonstrating emergent conditions such as seizures, heart attacks, and post-partum complications. Such tools ease transition from the classroom to the real-life situations students will face in their careers. The program can now accommodate 150 additional students per year.
Prior to licensing, students must achieve a fixed number of clinical setting hours. Due to the shortage of available hospital-based intern hours, students are now allowed to achieve up to 25% of these clinical hours through the use of the virtual hospital and human-patient simulators. This, plus the additional 150 students per year that the program can now accommodate, allows RCC to more quickly alleviate the region's critical shortage of healthcare workers. The nursing program is now the second largest in the state, and number one for program completion.
"We always ask ourselves what more can buildings do," states gkkworks' Director of Design Edmund Einy. "We aspire to create environments that enable students and faculty to excel. In this case, the Nursing, Math and Sciences Complex has a direct effect on science, and specifically the healthcare community, as students graduate with state-of-the-art, evidence-based knowledge and skills. They will become the next generation of healthcare providers and care givers for California's aging population. There couldn't be a more purposeful endeavor for an architect."