Friday, March 14, 2014

Trident Technical College celebrates opening of new Nursing and Science Building

Trident Technical College hosted a breakfast reception and tour of its new 90,000-square-foot Nursing and Science Building today, showcasing the high-tech, energy efficient building to more than 800 invited guests. The new building is located on the college’s Main Campus in North Charleston.

Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties paid for the construction of the $30 million building, with each county providing a proportional share. Charleston County provided $18 million, Berkeley County $7.5 million, and Dorchester County $4.5 million.

“In December 2010, we pitched this facility not just as a building but as an economic development project,” said TTC President Mary Thornley. “Today is not really about a building, it’s about jobs. Our message is affirmed in a recent study by the University of South Carolina projecting a shortage of 17,438 registered nurses in the state by 2030.” 

Trident Tech is already the largest provider of nursing education in the Lowcountry, and the new building will allow the college to increase its nursing enrollment from 650 students to almost 1,000 students as employment in the health care field grows to meet the rising demand. Since 1985, the college has offered nursing programs that prepare students to become registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. The college also has transfer agreements with four-year colleges that allow Trident Tech’s associate degree nursing students to transfer their coursework to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Previously, the college’s three nursing programs and 10 of the college’s 13 health science programs were housed in a 54,400-square-foot building constructed in 1989, when the college’s enrollment was only 5,728. Today, the college has an enrollment of close to 18,000 students, making it the second largest institution of higher education in the state based on undergraduate enrollment. Lack of space has meant waiting lists for nursing and health science programs.

The building not only supports nursing education, but also the college’s associate in science program, which is a transfer program primarily used by students as the first two years of a four-year degree. The third floor of the building houses the college’s biology department and provides additional campus classroom and lab space for courses including microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and astronomy.

LS3P Associates of Charleston designed the building, and China Construction America of South Carolina Inc. received the construction contract through the state bidding process. The building features classrooms, science labs, a 300-seat divisible tiered classroom, a nursing resource center, and sophisticated nursing simulation labs with programmable mannequin patients. The simulation labs allow nursing students to develop competencies in a variety of health care settings — including birthing, pediatrics and geriatrics — before being placed in clinical rotations in local hospitals.

Continuing its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability, and, as required by state law, TTC’s bid specifications required that the new building be designed to meet LEED standards for high performance in the areas of human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The building’s design provides many sustainable features including storm water capture for toilet flushing, solar hot water, building materials with high recycled content, pervious pavement and water efficient landscaping. The college plans to apply for LEED silver certification.  

The building opened for student use in January.

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