SHELDON—Administrators dug into the next major project at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon on Monday: the long-awaited health science building expansion.
A crowd of about 50 was on hand for the ceremony that featured speakers including NCC president Alethea Stubbe and Sheldon mayor Greg Geels.
“It will truly be a beacon of hope for the future as we prepare even more health-care workers for the surrounding communities,” Stubbe said. “Of course, we could not do this alone, without our health partners: hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, individuals.”
Geels also praised the coordination and altruism between the college and local organizations.
“Constant through the years is the collaboration that’s occurred between the college and the region it serves,” the mayor said. “Partnerships with the area’s school systems, business and industry, local governments and economic development agencies have been mutually beneficial, and help to improve the lives of many people.”
The project is budgeted for $9 million, coming in two phases. First, the two-story addition will be constructed. The new building will house the health programs while the second phase renovates the existing space.
Once complete, the facility will greatly expand NCC’s teaching capabilities, offering more hands-on training for its nursing and radiologic technology programs.
The first floor of the new building will include a simulation center. It will replicate a hospital with four patient rooms.
“The hospital setting overall is going to help prepare students more for the actual real world and relate to the community,” said second-year nursing student Jenna Warburton of Rock Valley.
Warburton also said it would be nice for the college to have the extra space to accommodate more students. NCC has the smallest student body of any Iowa community college with about 1,700 students.
Hannah Jinkinson, a second-year radiologic technology student from Sheldon, said students like her will be more “confident and comfortable” in real-world scenarios after receiving training in the new space. Her program will get a new dedicated area of the building.
“Being able to be more hands-on with learning — that will help a lot,” Jinkinson said. “Being able to apply it as soon as we go out into clinical.”
In addition to the dedicated new spaces, half the second floor will be left unassigned for the time being. Stubbe said this allows opportunities for new ideas in the college’s future.
The floors combined will total more than 48,000 square feet, which the president said is “much needed and much appreciated.” The existing space is a mere 17,000 square feet.
December 2022 is the target for completion.
“This project is indeed a dream come true with all your help,” Stubbe said to supporters from the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation in attendance.
The local economic group helped plan the event and is central to the aforementioned partnerships. SCDC board president Trevor Gottula was another speaker at the groundbreaking.
“The college has changed a lot in 25-30 years — for the better — and it’s been a great asset to this community, this region,” Gottula said. “The number of people in our workforce that have been educated here and have gone on to do big and great things in this community is awesome to see.”