New nursing building greenlit for construction

Groundbreaking expecteded in spring of 2018, with students occupying the space by 2020

Dean of nursing Donna Murnaghan at the announcement on Friday morning. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

The provincial government has announced it will contribute $8 million towards the construction of a new nursing and population health building on campus, giving it the greenlight for construction.

The remainder of the $30.6-million cost of the project will be funded by TRU using its undesignated surplus and private fundraising efforts. An anonymous donor, who will be announced along with the building’s name, and the Stollery Charitable Foundation are some of the donors behind the $2 million already raised.

The building will house the bachelor of science in nursing, health care assistant, and the new master of nursing program, with the ability for more programs to be added as they are created and approved.

Located across from the Ken Lepin Science building, the centre will feature classrooms, multi-disciplinary labs and collaborative study spaces, as well as allowing for patient-simulation technology.

Minister of Health and local MLA Terry Lake called the announcement the “worst kept secret” in town. Lake was joined by fellow local MLA Todd Stone

TRU president Alan Shaver said he believes that this building, along with the recently announced master of nursing program, will bolster the status nursing at TRU, which he said is recognized nationally and internationally.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA and B.C. health minister Terry Lake. (Juan Cabrejo/The Omega)

Dean of nursing Donna Murnaghan said this greenlight has been the product of a team effort and a lot of work from the students and staff of the nursing program, and that she is “truly excited” about it.

“The building will provide a sense of ‘place’ for the program, and allow us to bring in more programs in the future,” Murnaghan said, noting that the school has already begun work with the respiratory therapy program and intends to grow from there.

“We haven’t accomplished this until we get the shovel in the ground,” Murnaghan said, presenting Lake and Stone with a silver shovel.

Taryn Christian, a fourth-year nursing student, spoke on behalf of those enrolled in the program. She said the building will make staff “more effective in supporting student learning and mentoring,” “improve planning and organization in the program,” and give students the chance to learn and practice.

“This building will change the way students learn,” Christian said. “I had excellent education as I went through the program, but this will create an exceptional education.”

Construction is expected to begin in spring of 2018, and be ready for use in fall of 2020. The project is expected to create $47 million in direct and indirect economic stimulation, 102 jobs in construction, and 74 jobs in supplier industries, according to Stone.