Last Friday afternoon, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open MNSU’s new Clinical Sciences building on Warren Street.
The event began with a news conference that included speeches from MNSU president Richard Davenport, Allied Health and Nursing dean Kris Retherford, trustee Bob Hoffman, nursing professor Colleen Royle, and MNSU senior Kellie Metzger. Tours of the new facility, which showed off new technologies such as simulators used by dental hygiene and nursing students, were offered to attendees following the news conference.
The building houses three departments within the College of Allied Health and Nursing: nursing, dental hygiene, and communication disorders. It will, however, also be used by other departments within the college. Some finishing touches have yet to be made to the building, but it is now operational.
The building, which was originally conceived as an idea in 1998, is the result of many years of hard work and planning. This included the long process of lobbying the idea to the state legislature. At long last, the idea received the support it needed in 2014 when it was included in the state bonding bill and passed by Governor Mark Dayton. From the planning phase to completion of construction, President Davenport says, the project spanned a total of six years.
President Davenport recalls that the idea was brought to his attention by Kaye Herth, the former dean of the College of Allied Health and Nursing, who made “a convincing argument that we needed a new clinical science and allied health building that would provide space for her entire college.”
The building, however, fell short of the original ideal which would have included all of the college’s seven departments. At the news conference, President Davenport expressed his desire for a Phase II project that would accomplish this goal. He optimistically thanked local legislators in advance for the support he hopes that they provide in accomplishing Phase II.
President Davenport emphasizes that his excitement for the new building comes from the opportunities that it will be affording the students who use it.
Quoting the words of a friend, he closed his news conference address saying that “new bricks and mortar are wonderful to behold, but it’s the people and the learning that takes place in the building that really matter.”
Kellie Metzger is a senior in the communication disorders program.
“Now that we finally have our clinical sciences building, we can take advantage of the multiple opportunities that we were so excited about when we first broke ground on the building,” she said in her news conference speech.
“Students get to learn in an incredible environment, faculty get to teach within state-of-the-art facilities, and clients have access to high-quality affordable care. I can’t wait to get started!”
The building represents a new healthcare option in Mankato, as students will now be offering various clinical services to patients under faculty supervision. This benefits both students and the Mankato community, offering students the chance to gain hands-on experience and community members the chance to access affordable healthcare.
“Because our students will be working with community members and because our clinics are much more visible and easily-accessible, the community can actually come in and receive hearing tests, dental cleanings, and restorative functions,” says Retherford. “Those are things that they might not have had access to without this facility. And [the community is] actually providing a service to us because our students get to – with great oversight by our experts – get that clinical experience.”
Vice President for University Advancement Kent Stanley notes that this is the seventh building inauguration President Davenport has attended since his term began in 2002, and the first of two that will be held in a short amount of time.
The date for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new University Dining Hall, which is already in operation, is yet to be announced.