New nursing building opens opportunities at BC3
BUTLER TWP — Walking through the new building at Butler County Community College is like being at Butler Memorial Hospital, not only because some of the interior is patterned after the building, but also because there are patients inside who need medical attention.
Olivia Vissari, who is in her second year in BC3’s RN program, said she is most excited about the completion of the Victor K. Phillips Nursing & Allied Health Building because of the new technology that lets students practice on simulated patients.
“Before, we were over on the other side of campus below the business building — this is a big upgrade,” Vissari said. “I think what we’re all most excited for are the simulation labs. They are all brand new; they are all replicas of rooms at Butler hospital, and they are so cool to look at.”
Vissari shared her excitement with BC3 and Butler County officials Wednesday, Sept. 20, when the school hosted a grand opening ceremony for the $18.2 million, 25,000-square-foot facility that houses the Shaffer School of Nursing & Allied Health.
Nick Neupauer, president of BC3, said the project is the result of numerous people, businesses and agencies working together.
“Whenever I think to my time as president, the terrific teamwork that it took from the college as a whole and supporters of BC3 who literally donated millions of dollars to make this happen, this project is the culmination of a great team effort,” Neupauer said.
Construction on the south campus expansion project at BC3 wrapped up with the completion of the building.
The new building began construction in January 2022 and follows other renovation projects on campus, including a revamp of the social science building’s interior. The facility was expected to cost $18.2 million, paid for through a combination of state money totaling about $11 million, private contributions and federal grants.
The BC3 Education Foundation as of June 30 received $6.7 million in private contributions and pledges from 108 donors toward the construction of the Victor K. Phillips Nursing & Allied Health Building, including four donations of $1 million each. Megan Coval, executive director of the BC3 foundation and external relations, said donations are still coming in.
The college took out a short-term note for about $2 million to pay the gap for the overall project, and donations will now go toward paying off that short-term note.
The Janice Phillips Larrick Family Charitable Trust contributed $1 million toward construction of the building, leading the college to name the building in honor of Victor K. Phillips. Soon after, former state Sen. Tim Shaffer willed more than $6 million from his estate to county charities with half supporting community college scholarships, which led BC3 to name the school of nursing and allied health in his honor.
Patty Annear, dean of the college’s Shaffer School of Nursing & Allied Health, said at the grand opening ceremony that the college can better educate students thanks to community investment.
“It showcases a state-of-the-art lecture hall, multiple high-tech simulation labs and skills labs, not to mention private offices for our faculty and student-centric classrooms,” Annear said. “Because of (Janice) Larrick’s forward thinking, our students are better prepared to care for patients at the bedside.”
At the ceremony, Annear recognized the staff members in the nursing program at BC3, and said the new building also allows the teaching staff to integrate new lessons into the curricula. She added that the technology in the building will better prepare students for their future careers.
“Shaffer School of Nursing & Allied Health graduates are a major contributing educated workforce for our region, and the Victor K. allows us to expand that growth even further,” Annear said.
Vissari said she has already done some clinical rotations in health care agencies in the region. She said the mannequins in the Victor K. Phillips building can replicate the process of working with real-life patients.
“The little dummies in there, they will actually talk to you; it’s very realistic,” Vissari said. “You walk in; you can take vitals on them. The instructors sit in a separate room and control what’s happening. Their condition will change and you have to notice those things about your patient and assess them.”
According to Neupauer, students are already complimenting the new building’s features.
“They absolutely love it,” Neupauer said. “They love the state-of-the-art, high-tech facilities that are here.”