From the Daily Nebraskan. Now to get teachers: UNMC builds new hub for nursing program - News

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is building a new facility in Omaha, expanding the reach of the Nebraska University system.

The 43,000-square-foot facility will be used by nursing students. The project is projected to cost $41 million and is expected to be completed by spring 2010.

The building was made possible through a private donation from philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott.

While the ground-breaking ceremony took place Oct. 22 at the construction site, actual construction will commence in the coming months.

Virginia Tilden, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, said the shortage of nurses is not due to a lack of applicants but a lack of classroom space and teachers.

In fact, in the last five years UNMC has had to turn away 1,000 qualified applicants, according to a college's news release.

"This new facility for us is a way to expand," Tilden said.

The building currently used by the nursing students was overcrowded and limited in space, she said. The new modern building, she added, will enable the nursing students to use technology and sophisticated learning techniques they would not have been able to use because of the current building's structure.

In a press release by the UNMC, Tilden said:

"The new facility in Omaha is not just about more nurses. It's about the highest standards of nursing education."

The new nursing building will be located east of the current building, and the construction will not affect current students.

"We are very supportive of the new college of nursing addition," said Diane Brage-Hudson, the assistant dean for the UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division.

Faculty members from the Lincoln division attended the groundbreaking ceremony, she said.

Brage-Hudson said the students in the Lincoln branch will benefit from learning experiences from the different divisions.

This new facility is a part of several updates on the four divisions of UNMC.

Tilden said modernizing the facilities is an ongoing challenge. The Scottsbluff facility has just been remodeled, and a new building for the Lincoln division is in the planning stages.

The Board of Regents has already approved of the project, but the state Legislature has not yet approved funding.

"We are taking steps in moving forward with the project," Brage Hudson said.