SHU Breaks Ground on Center for Healthcare Education

News Story: June 18, 2015

From left are City of Bridgeport Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Nunn, incoming dean of the College of Nursing Mary Alice Donius, Bridgeport City Council members Tom McCarthy, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michelle Lyons, College of Health Professions Dean Patricia Walker, nursing student Katherine Bernatchez ’16, occupational therapy student Lindsey Turse ’16 MSOT, Trustee Thomas L. Rich, Vice President for
Finance and Administration Michael Kinney and President John J. Petillo.‌ 

Flickr View groundbreaking event photos ‌View building & progress photos

Sacred Heart University broke ground today on a new building to house its Colleges of Health Professions and Nursing. Located at 4000 Park Avenue in Bridgeport, the Center for Healthcare Education will be three stories comprising 117,000 square feet on 8.7 acres.

“Like the recently completed Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center, the new Center for Healthcare Education will provide our students with all the latest technology used in their future professions,” says SHU President John J. Petillo. “The expanded space and updated equipment will offer new opportunities for learning and ensure that they graduate well prepared to make their mark in the booming health-care industry.”

One of those new opportunities is the exciting new multi-professional education clinic planned for the building. It will offer specialized single-profession services and a collaborative, holistic approach to needed services for everyone from pediatric to geriatric populations. Disciplines that will collaborate in the clinic include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, exercise science, athletic training, physician assistant and nursing. Along with a medical gym and individual treatment rooms, the clinic will have an aquatic therapy pool and an audiology suite used for teaching skills in hearing assessment, aural rehabilitation and fitting clients with hearing aids. Clinic staff will also have access to the motion analysis and human performance labs and a driving simulator. The clinic will serve as an outpatient teaching lab when not in use for clinical services.

The building will also house state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom facilities designed to support a collaborative, team-based learning environment. In addition to discipline-specific laboratories, the building will include an immersive acute care simulation lab with video and data capture capability to provide enhanced feedback on student performance in a clinical setting. There will also be a simulated outpatient suite for evaluation and treatment of ambulatory patients. Both suites accommodate high-fidelity manikins or actors playing roles as standardized patients. There will be a home-care suite to simulate occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and nursing practice. An expanded human anatomy lab will also be used to support‎ health professions and nursing students.

Enhanced athletic training, human performance and motion analysis labs will provide up-to-the-minute learning environments for the exercise science and athletic training programs. These will be used for developing clinical skills and evidenced-based practice and to support faculty/student research. The equipment will prepare students for careers in patient care where they will evaluate the physical performance of individuals with injuries and chronic conditions. In addition, the speech-language pathology program will have labs to teach the use of diagnostic instruments and software and to provide an environment for supervised clinical activities.

The SHU PT Specialists clinic will be relocated‎ to the new building from its current locations in the Pitt Center in Fairfield and the Cambridge building in Trumbull. The Pioneer Performance Center will also be relocating to the new building from its current location in the Oakview building in Trumbull.

A multi-purpose amphitheater will be available for both large- and small-group discussions and will expand the capacity for problem-based tutorials‎. The building will also serve as a site to host professional development activities for health-care providers in the community, and it will be the center for coordinating community-based programming supported by our Colleges, such as global health and service learning activities.

“These new buildings provide the space and technology to allow our faculty to use the high-impact practices that have been our focus for the past few years. “These include collaborative learning, project- and problem-based learning, digital learning, global learning, service learning and the common intellectual experience,” says Laura Niesen de Abruna, provost and vice president of Academics. “We are ensuring that our students experience the best practices in the best possible learning environments.”

“The expansion of health professions and nursing programs has resulted in our outgrowing our current space. In addition to allowing us to have new types of labs with emerging technologies, the rooms in the building will be larger in size to allow collaborative activities involving more than one program,” adds Pat Walker, dean of the College of Health Professions. “New social spaces both inside and outside of the building will encourage more interaction between students and between faculty and students. The new site is also closer to the main campus and will allow our faculty and students to be more participative in University events. We look forward to this new phase in the development of the Health Professions and Nursing Colleges, and we are grateful to the University leadership for giving us this opportunity.”

“The new facility with its larger space will expand significantly on the amount of space available for practice and learning,” notes Mary Alice Donius, who will be dean of the new College of Nursing. “There will be exciting opportunities for our nursing students—not only to practice on our state-of-the-art manikins and actors, but to collaborate on cases with students in the other health professional disciplines. This will ensure that students in all the disciplines will be prepared for the kind of interactions they will experience when they begin to work in professional health-care settings.”

The exterior of the building will be brick, limestone and precast concrete in a limestone color with some glass and metal canopy elements. The windows and other glazing will be high-performance “low-e” glass that will appear clear. The plans also call for a 250-space parking garage. Surface lots will provide additional parking.

“The building will be architecturally significant and will enhance the neighborhood. The parking structure will allow for a reduction in surface parking that will be replaced with new lawns and planted areas, resulting in a greener and more attractive site design,” says Michael Kinney, senior vice president for Finance & Administration at SHU.

The building was designed by SLAM—a national firm based in Glastonbury. SLAM is also working on a $400M project with the University of Notre Dame.

To watch a video of the groundbreaking ceremony, click here.

If you are unable to view the photo gallery below, click here.