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Gateway cuts ribbon on new nurse training facility

Center helps meet need for nurses in Racine area

The need for trained health care professionals locally, particularly nurses, has reached a critical stage.

While Gateway already provides a strong Nursing program and well-trained graduates to meet the needs of its communities and area health care providers, the need for more nurses still exists.

To help meet that need, and to accommodate students seeking to earn a degree in the college’s most popular program, Gateway created the Lincoln Center for Health Careers on its Racine Campus. The college held a grand opening ceremony for the advanced training center on Thursday, May 12.

“Today is a monumental day for Gateway because we are able to re-establish one of the very first buildings that was built here to support higher education,” said Gateway Technical College President and CEO Bryan Albrecht. “Originally, this building was used for the University of Wisconsin-Extension as their administrative offices and then in the 1970s, it was transferred to Gateway and was still an administrative building.

“Over time, it went through a lot of renovations and changes, but it really never solidified itself for a program, until now. To recast this building with a new future gives me great pride. It’s a great investment and reinvestment to reinvigorate the need for the city of Racine to expand health care training.”

The $7 million project consisted of remodeling 17,831 square feet of existing space and adding 4,238 square feet for the building’s elevator and stairwell.

It also included installing cutting-edge technology and other equipment which provides hands-on training opportunities as well as replicates the real-world setting of a hospital room for students to gain their health care skills. The center features Nursing skills labs, classrooms, high-fidelity human patient simulators and Nursing faculty offices.

Gateway Technical College Dean of Health Vicki Coyle pointed out that the college and its Nursing graduates have had a great impact on the health care community locally, noting that 98 percent of recent graduates who became licensed nurses remained in Wisconsin.

“We are honored to bring nursing to the Racine Campus where we can offer classes for our associate degree Nursing program and Licensed Practical Nursing program closer to home for our Racine students, and where we can provide a pipeline of health care workers for our growing health care community,” said Coyle.

The college gutted, remodeled and added to the original Lincoln Building for the past two years to turn it into the training center it has become today. The project was spurred by work done by a committee made up of college staff, three board of trustee members and a representative of the city on how to best use the aging Lincoln Building. Options explored included tearing it down and turning that area into a park, tearing it down and putting up a new building or remodeling the current building.

The final project allows the college to expand its Nursing program from its Kenosha Campus and Burlington Center to now include the Racine Campus.