BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - 14 months of construction came to a close Thursday. The ribbon has been cut on The Medical Center - WKU Health Sciences Complex and now the new partnership is expected to make a huge impact on health care across our area.
"Our promise to The Medical Center and Commonwealth Health Corporation is quality and we are going to provide you with the health care professionals that we will all need across our community and across our region," says Dr. Gary Ransdell, President of Western Kentucky University.
More than 80 of those future professionals toured their new classrooms for the first time. $15.6 million and more than 73,000 square feet make up the new facility. State of the art technology have some lecture halls looking more like an emergency room, which is a far cry from the old classes at Tate Page Hall.
"We had access to 2 cadavers for a couple of hours a week. Starting next summer the new class will have access to their own laboratory housing 8 cadavers with unlimited access," says David Dahl, a graduate of the inaugural physical therapy class at WKU.
More space and technology has allowed WKU to double their nursing program. The university says plans for expansion have been in the works for years, but they couldn't do it alone.
"For this project, double the nursing program, physical therapy, getting this building funded with the tiff district and everyone's help, that is what it has been about. It's about perseverance and keeping the vision ahead," says Dr. John Bonaguro, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services.
The new complex will benefit the entire community, providing skilled nurses during a time when the nation is having a nursing shortage.
"The Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex will benefit the hospital and university with much needed educational space. The community will also reap the benefits as this facility will help advance healthcare in Southcentral Kentucky by providing highly educated and trained healthcare professionals," says Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation.
Although classes don't start for Western Kentucky University students until Monday, the complex is already being used to train some Medical Center staff.