A “healing force in the world” – the first four-year nursing class was greeted by Front Range Community College officials as fall classes began in a new building for health careers.
Front Range Community College (FRCC) President Andrew Dorsey and Larimer campus Vice-President Jean Runyon welcomed a class that will be the first to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Larimer County. Together, they were celebrating the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Health Care Careers Center at the corner of Harmony and Shields.
A 10-year effort to develop the program and $34 million facility has finally come to fruition through donations, state funding and legislative support, said Andrew.
All Larimer Campus buildings are named after Colorado 14ers; “Gray’s Peak” won a campus vote for the new addition. Jean said it fits with the FRCC mission: “Moving mountains to support students’ success.”
In circumstances reflecting the moment in health care, the grand opening was attended virtually via WebEx by most, with the ribbon-cutting reduced to a digital illustration. Jean spoke about the shortage of health care workers each year, the anticipated growth of senior citizens in Colorado by 2050, and the recent high enrollment in health-related programs.
The building will bring together more than 900 students, pursuing 12 health-care and wellness degrees and certificates, in one location. New equipment includes simulation suites, labs, nursing home practice rooms and more.
While most FRCC students are studying remotely this semester, with remote classes for most planned in spring, many nursing and EMT labs are in-person with reduced class sizes. Andrew said hopes are high to expand the in-person learning in the spring semester.
Michelle Deckard, an administrative assistant at Gray’s Peak, said the building has improved efficiency and communication, bringing staff together in one place for collaboration. Michelle said her primary objective this semester is to help students and faculty overcome significant obstacles presented by the COVID pandemic.
Michelle also stated that last spring many students completing degrees and certificates in healthcare careers were unable to complete their clinicals and move forward into their career fields.
The campus is limited to a 50 percent occupancy, with most classes being taken remotely. Michelle claimed that a massage therapy cohort was cut due to social-distancing requirements.
“It’s vital to the future of health care for in-person school to resume,” said Michelle.
For more information regarding Front Range Community College, visit: https://www.frontrange.edu