Ashtabula building offers opportunities

Erin Orsini

Health care growth prompted project

The Robert S. Morrison Health and Science Building opened on Kent State’s Ashtabula Campus in August. The building cost $15 million. Erin Orsini | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

In 2004, planning and fundraising began for a new addition to the Kent State Ashtabula Campus. Five years and $15 million later, the Robert S. Morrison Health and Science Building serves as the home to health care students and faculty.

The 55,000-square-foot building, which opened in August, offers hands-on laboratories and the latest technology to students.

Before the Health and Science Building, students studied in Main Hall, where there was limited space. Ashtabula Campus Dean Susan Stocker said the science equipment dated back to the 1960s.

The growth of students was another reason for the new addition. Four out of the five top areas of study at the Ashtabula campus are health care and science-related fields. Nursing is the leading program with 444 students enrolled.

Physical therapy assistance, radiologic technology and occupational therapy are also part of the leading programs.

Stocker and Dave Schultz, business services administrator for Ashtabula campus, among other architects and university officials, spent many hours on the design for the building and toured other facilities to create the perfect establishment.

“We decided to have smaller classrooms so students have a place to work and then have hands-on work right next door,” Stocker said. “This way they’re all in the same building and able to share resources.”

Features include a cadaver lab, a human patient simulator, radiologic labs and a full-scale apartment life lab. These teaching tools help students grasp concepts and apply them to actual work.

The human patient simulator hooks up to a computer where professors can program real-life scenarios. The simulator breathes, produces urinary output and responds the way a human would in a given situation.

David Goswick, the respiratory therapy program director, said students have a great opportunity to learn.

“This building provides such a realistic setting,” Goswick said. “It’s what students will actually see in hospitals and allows them to be more comfortable and familiar in those situations. The more angles we have to teach, the more students will learn.”

Students like sophomore nursing major Beckie Smith appreciate the many resources the new building offers.

“To be a part of a new building is a great opportunity because we’re the first students to use it,” she said. “We have new labs similar to hospital settings, and that makes it such a better place to learn.”

In order to provide technology and opportunities to students, the community raised $6 million from local foundations, businesses and individuals.

“The neat thing is that almost 100 percent of people who work here contributed to the campaign,” Stocker said.

Because of the latest technology and resources, Kent State Ashtabula works with local health care businesses and hospitals to train employees and help provide job opportunities for students.

“The local health care institutions rely on us to supply workers,” Stocker said. “We have advisory committees for all of our allied health programs and have close working relationships with those institutions. The new building gives us an opportunity to allow professionals to use the building for continuing education.”

Gail Schroeder, the radiologic technology program director, said that she couldn’t think of a better place for students to learn.

“This is not just a place for radiologic technology students; it’s for everyone,” she said. “Each segment offers something special for each career. It’s wonderful to have that opportunity.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Erin Orsini at [email protected]