On the heels of a $1 million donation from the Salina Regional Health Center, the Kansas Wesleyan University nursing program has received another substantial donation.
According to the school, the Jack and Donna Vanier family is providing its own $1 million gift to help create a new, state-of-the-art Nursing Education Center.
The building, located at 135 E. Claflin Ave., will be the first new instruction-only facility on campus in 50 years. In total, the renovation plans have an estimated cost of $4.5 million. Once that capital is raised, construction is anticipated to begin late this fall, with a targeted completion date of December 2020.
“We are so pleased and honored to be given the opportunity to help with this project. The work that Dr. Thompson, his board and faculty, and everyone at Kansas Wesleyan have done in order to provide their students with a real hands-on and needs-based education is tremendous! Our decision to support the program for the school was an easy one,” said John Vanier.
The 13,400-square-foot, two-story building will house a performance lab, simulation suite, testing area, large classrooms, a multi-media conference room, student study area, a student lounge and faculty offices.
The simulation and clinical laboratories give students hands-on practice in bedside care, simulated patient scenarios and collaborative learning opportunities with other health care disciplines, all leading to a comprehensive nursing education, preparing graduates to go into immediate practice after passing national board certification testing and licensing.
The renovation is designed to handle educational facilities for 80 Nursing students – 40 each in the junior and senior classes. Kansas Wesleyan Nursing students spend freshman and sophomore years with basic studies and enter concentrated nursing education their final two years.
KWU President and CEO Dr. Matt Thompson said this significant gift from the Vaniers not only jump-starts the fundraising campaign for the total renovation, but demonstrates the family’s magnanimous generosity and commitment to the community.
“It is difficult to put into words how grateful we are for this major support; however, it is easy to find the words that illustrate how much the Vaniers help build their own community by ensuring quality and depth of nursing care for all residents,” Dr. Thompson said. “We are appreciative of the Vanier family’s commitment to KWU and the region. Our goal is to educate Nursing students to fill a critical need in our local health care facilities. It is our commitment to meet that challenge, and the Vaniers are role models in helping us provide the tools to do exactly that.”
The Nursing program at KWU was established in January 1988 after the Asbury Hospital program was moved to the university. The Department of Nursing Education initiated an Associate Degree in Nursing in 1989, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program in 1990.
Starting in 2014, the need for major program revisions was identified. In the summer of 2015, new full-time Nursing faculty were hired with advanced nursing degrees. In 2017, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree was converted to a Bachelor of Science with a major in nursing degree so that new curriculum ideas could be implemented and evaluated separately from the former BSN degree. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
KWU also offers an RN to BS Nursing degree online program for students who are licensed RNs wanting to pursue a bachelor’s degree.