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FVCC Nursing Center Nears Completion
Building should be in use by the first week in April
Terry Riley, with Swank Enterprises, cuts a section of ceiling decoration while putting the finishing touches on the main entrance lobby of Flathead Valley Community College's new Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Science. - Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
Less than nine months ago, Sarah Broussard Kelly dug into the ground at Flathead Valley Community College and flung the dirt into the air at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new nursing and health science center to be built in her mother’s memory.

In the time since, a 32,000-square-foot building has sprung up on campus, nearly ready to begin what will be an enormous change for the programs it will house and for the students it will cater to.

Last week, FVCC President Jane Karas took some visitors on a tour through the Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Science. Sounds of power tools and construction crews’ music selections still filled the air, but the interior was quickly taking shape.

The building, which is scheduled to be completed in March and open for classes the first week in April, will house many of the college’s health programs, including practical nursing, registered nursing, paramedicine, emergency management, physical therapy assistant, surgical technology, medical assistant and anatomy and physiology classes.

Also included will be the new student health clinic, which will provide basic health care services at a low cost to students. The clinic is expected to be operational by the fall semester, Karas said.

On the tour, Karas also pointed out a small room near the clinic, which will be the room for nursing mothers on campus, both students and faculty. It will be a comfortable room, with a couch and a refrigerator.

“We make space available (now), but we don’t have a dedicated space,” Karas said.

Many of the new classrooms are huge, with plenty of space for storage, which Karas said is one of the biggest downfalls the programs currently face. Enrollment has skyrocketed at FVCC, and the college has added several nursing and health care programs to address increased need for skilled workers in these fields.

In the new building, space won’t be an issue. For example, the physical therapy assistant program has an entire room just for its equipment. It will enhance the learning process for the students, Karas said.

“We’re really fortunate that because of this building we could provide that,” she said.

The building’s foundations lie in philanthropy. The Broussard family gifted the college with $4 million in memory of Rebecca Broussard, which comprised the bulk of the funds necessary for its creation. The FVCC Foundation raised an additional $1,360,000 in gifts, pledges and in-kind donations in nine months.

The funds also designate it as the first privately funded building on FVCC’s campus.

The nursing program will have an area built to mirror an actual hospital ward, with a nursing station and several rooms that will have simulated patients – high-tech dummies that are controlled by instructors sitting in a control room adjacent to the patient rooms.

The Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Science building is seen under construction on the Flathead Valley Community College campus in Kalispell. - Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon Click here to enlarge

Students will also have a full operation room set-up, so they can remain on campus while taking their lab tech classes instead of having to move back and forth between FVCC and Kalispell Regional Medical Center, Karas said. And for those who do need to head to the hospital, there will be changing rooms they can use to get in and out of their scrubs.

The anatomy and physiology classes will have a designated cadaver room, which has more ventilation and a better lighting system than what currently exists.

There will also be a computer lab for the general campus population.

In the main lobby, visitors will have places to sit and enjoy the view with massive windows facing the nearby mountains, and there will be a wall dedicated to donors, as well as Rebecca Broussard.

The building, designed by CTA Architects Engineers and built by Swank Enterprises, also has areas designated for future expansion, should it be necessary.

The transfer of most classes should take place while the students are away on spring break, Karas said.

“Our goal is to make it seamless for students and faculty,” she said.
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