SHELDON—Monday was groundbreaking in more ways than one at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon as construction officially started on its new health science building.
The $9 million project will construct a two-story addition to house the nursing and radiologic technology programs as well as renovate their existing space on campus in Building H. The target completion date for the project is December of next year.
“It will truly be a beacon of hope for the future as we prepare even more health care workers for the surrounding communities,” said NCC president Alethea Stubbe. “Of course, we could not do this alone, without our health partners: hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, individuals.”
Ceremony attendees included many members of the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation who were involved with the group’s partnership with the college.
SCDC board president Trevor Gottula also addressed the crowd of about 50.
“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.”
The 36-year-old Sheldon native recalled his mother working at the college when he was growing up. Seeing the college evolve and add degrees — such as the health science programs — is central to NCC’s current and future success, he said.
The new complex will add 48,000 square feet, more than double the department’s present space. Some programs, such as radiologic technology, will get their own dedicated lab areas.
Hannah Jinkinson, a second-year student from Sheldon who is in the program, said the amenities will make learning more accessible for students and better prepare them for real-world jobs.
“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.”
The glossiest feature of the facility will be a simulation hospital on the first floor. It will include four training rooms and ample equipment to get students a tactile experience beyond textbooks and lectures.
Jenna Warburton, a second-year nursing student from Rock Valley, said the training center will be attractive to prospective students and provide a more robust education for future health workers.
“The hospital setting, overall, is going to help prepare students more for the actual real world and relate to the community,” Warburton said.
The college is reserving part of the second floor for future fields of study that might not be on the radar yet.
In the fall, a medical laboratory technician program will be added to the registrar.
Pushing the college to the cutting edge has been a theme during Stubbe’s tenure, which started a decade ago and is ending with her retirement in June.
“Who knows what the next one will be, but there will be a next one,” the president said. “This new addition and expansion signifies growth and progress for the college and entire area, enabling NCC to meet our mission — we talked about our mission — as the region’s workforce trainer, career builder and life changer.”