Kent State Geauga unveils 2022 renovation plan

Angela Spalsbury is the dean and chief administrative officer for Kent State Geauga. 

Olivia Futo Reporter

A recently approved $1.2 million renovation plan will update the Kent State Geauga regional campus by introducing a new student learning commons area and nursing skills lab.  

Earlier this year, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer for Kent State Geauga Angela Spalsbury unveiled the renovation plan in a Zoom meeting to show the community the changes that will be made. The plan was first discussed in 2019 but was only recently approved.  

The three main upgrades include the following: new exterior signage, a commons area for students with a food service area and a nursing skills lab with eight hospital beds and two simulation labs. 

The Geauga campus serves around 1,000 students each year with over 20 degrees and programs, Spalsbury explained during the unveiling. The campus does not currently have any food service options, only vending machines, so students have to leave campus for lunch. Spalsbury also said there is also not a large enough area for students to study, work on homework or collaborate in groups.  

The need for a bigger nursing skills lab stems from the fact that there is a shortage of nurses in the workforce in Ohio, said Melissa Owen, the BSN nursing coordinator and lecturer in the program, during the unveiling.  

“In the year 2022, which is right around the corner, over half a million nurses are expected to retire, decreasing the overall nursing population available in our workforce,” Owen said. “The number of active professional nurses in the hospital setting is declining faster than the rate that we can fill those vacancies.”  

The program space is also outdated and cannot fit the number of students in the program, especially with pandemic restrictions, Owen said. Only about eight students can fit in the lab at one time and students need to be split up during class to accommodate them.  

This is difficult for lecturers because of having to make sure students are rotating in groups and learning at the same time, said James Blackwell, the simulation lab coordinator and full-time lecturer at Kent State Geauga.  

“One of the big things in nursing school is learning how to do the skills such as changing dressings for wounds or learning how to do any type of patient care,” Blackwell said. “In those situations, we want to teach everyone at the same time if we can, and we don’t want to have to break apart all our students into smaller groups which we are doing now.” 

The renovation will provide a larger space where students can learn in a classroom setting.

A fundraising campaign for the $1.2 million dollar project began after the unveiling of the plan. Preston Superstore donated $20,000 toward the project along with three hospital beds, which can cost upwards of $2,000 each.  

Renovations will begin summer 2022 when classes are not in session, with plans to be finished by fall 2022.

Olivia Futo covers regional campuses. Contact her at [email protected]