PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke cut the ribbon Tuesday morning at the new $29 million, 87,000 square-foot Health Science Building.
The building will house the Nursing and Social Work departments and allow the four-year licensure nursing program to double in size to 200 students and add a master’s degree program.
“It is the largest capital project in university history and the greenest,” Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said to a crowd of about 100 people. “This building is a tremendous asset to our university, the community, region and state. I have no doubt that the nurses and social workers we train here will repay this investment many times over.”
The Health Science Building is certified as being “silver” by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, a program that gives companies guidelines to constructing environmentally friendly buildings.
“This building itself is a work of art, and there is $3 million in technology inside with smart classrooms and seven clinical learning centers,” said Kenneth Kitts, UNCP’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We have been celebrating the university’s 125th anniversary this year; this is the future.”
The building houses seven clinical training centers, which simulate nursing environments — including an operating room, obstetrics, intensive care, pediatrics, psychiatry and home health. Remote-controlled mannequins capable of speaking and mimicking heart attacks serve as patients, and can be controlled from observation rooms by nursing faculty. It also has a food court with Papa John’s Pizza and Einstein’s Bagel restaurants.
Carter thanked former state Rep. Ronnie Sutton of Pembroke and former state Sen. David Weinstein of Lumberton for playing a key role in making the building a reality.
“Without the help of Sen. Weinstein, we would not be here today,” Carter said. “He is a great friend of higher education and of this university.”
Weinstein said the building stood atop his efforts as a senator to help UNCP.
“It’s gorgeous; I’m proud of it,” Weinstein said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I helped bring $92 million to UNCP, but I consider this to be my greatest accomplishment.”
Carter called UNCP’s Nursing Program one of the “top programs in the state.”
The licensure program in nursing was established in 2005 on the campus of Southeastern Regional Medical Center. Carter thanked former SRMC CEO Luckey Welsh and current CEO Joanne Anderson for their role in launching the program.
“When we did not have room on campus for a nursing program, Southeastern Regional Medical Center came to our aid,” he Carter said. “It’s been a great partnership ever since.
“This is the second year in a row that 100 percent of their gradates passed the national examination for registered nurses,” he said. “This is an extraordinary accomplishment for any nursing program, but especially for a new program.”