South Carolina Technical College Unveils Nursing Building

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in South Carolina recently held the grand opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting for the college's state-of-the-art new $12.5 million, 30,000-square-foot Nursing Building.

(TNS) — Brianna Mishoe is a student in Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s pre-nursing program at the school in South Carolina. Her eyes are set on becoming a registered nurse.

On Thursday, Mishoe got a first-hand look at what the college will be able to offer students embarking on their nursing education.

OCtech held the grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the college's new $12.5 million, 30,000-square-foot Nursing Building Thursday afternoon.

"It is nice," Mishoe said. "It is really motivational because it makes you realize how hard you need to work to get here."

"They have newer technology here and newer and funner stuff to work with," she said. "I think it is better for getting experience in this building."

North resident Annie Robinson is also in OCtech's pre-nursing program and will begin work in the new building in August.

"I think it is really innovative and I like how they can divide the classes up but then leave it and have a big space for everybody,” she said.

"It is really cool and it encourages people to come in here,” she said.

The students joined with community members and college leaders to celebrate the opening of the state-of-the-art facility.

The building features a larger, tiered lecture hall, computer lab and study rooms. It has a 30-station skills practice lab, simulation labs with the latest technology and faculty offices.

The labs help provide students the necessary skills to prepare them for a real-world clinical setting. Office space also provides students with areas to meet with advisers and instructors.

The computer lab provides students with a place to prepare class notes, complete assignments, access online work and print necessary documents.

Currently, there are over 200 nursing students at the college and about a dozen instructors.

OCtech President Dr. Walt Tobin recalled when he was interviewed for his position back in 2011. One of his priorities was bringing a new nursing building to the campus -- a building that would better reflect the quality of the nursing students that go through the program.

"We really wanted a 21st-century facility," Tobin said. "We wanted the interior aspect of this building to be one in which to prepare our students for what the world of work will look like."

"We have a skills-based, technology-based program that is hands-on and our faculty spends a lot of time with our students getting them ready," he said. "In order for us to continue to produce more and enroll more and to attract people to this institution and this program, our faculty needed the space."

As an aside, Tobin said he still would like to build one more building before he retires. He did not specify what building he had in mind.

Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler offered an invocation.

"We need more nurses," Butler prayed. "Bless this school so we can get more nurses."

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said, "You should appreciate the fact that we have a real jewel here at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

"To the students here and to the nursing faculty, thank you so much for what you do. Please know you are filling a need in the health care workforce that has to be filled."

She encouraged students to remain in the area.

"Y’all please stay. Don't go anywhere. We need your bright minds here,” Cobb-Hunter said.

Orangeburg County Councilman Johnny Ravenell recalled being a student at OCtech back in the 1970s.

"We have a state-of-the art facility here," Ravenell said. "The atmosphere is so great."

"This means a lot," Calhoun County Administrator Ted Felder said. "I have been able to watch Calhoun and Orangeburg counties work together on partnerships that mean so much to both counties."

Dr. William Molnar, Lower Savannah Council of Governments executive director, said, "We are so happy of your bright future and to be part of this beautiful building."

The LSCOG helped acquire nearly $2 million in U.S. Economic Development Administration funding for the project.

In addition to the federal funding, the project received $6 million from the state; $500,000 from Orangeburg County; $32,000 from Calhoun County; and about $1 million from the OCtech Foundation. The remaining money, about $3 million, came from the college’s capital projects fund.

Students have been using the building since January. The original grand opening in early February was postponed due to severe weather.

©2020 The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.