'Topping out’ ceremony celebrates milestone for nursing, health sciences facility

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Lipscomb University will celebrate a milestone in the construction of a new health sciences simulation center and home for the School of Nursing Thursday, March 1, at 3:30 p.m. with a topping out ceremony at the construction site located adjacent to the James D. Hughes Center on the north side of campus.

The ceremony will commemorate the placement of the last beam on the structure of the 24,800-square-foot facility before the second phase of construction begins. Members of the Lipscomb community, including administrators, student nurses and representatives of Tuck-Hinton Architects and D.F. Chase Construction Inc., will sign the beam before it is hoisted into the air by a crane then carefully lowered and guided into place.

“The new facility will prepare Lipscomb’s next generation of health science professionals. This center will be the focal point for inter-professional educational activities for all health science students. The work that will be done in this building is just the beginning of a new phase in Lipscomb’s already impressive reputation for preparing students for careers in the health sciences,” said Roger Davis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

This facility is part of the university’s Lipscomb:Next initiative to invest $125 million dollars in the university by its 125th anniversary in 2016. Students in Lipscomb’s nursing, pharmacy, kinesiology and exercise and nutrition science programs will all pass through the doors of this new academic building.

The building will be a site for traditional classroom learning as well as the teaching of assessment skills, the foundation for a significant experiential education in the health sciences. The building will house a 16-bed teaching unit which simulates a hospital environment and cutting-edge physical assessment laboratories.

Classrooms and collaborative learning spaces are large enough to allow the rapidly growing nursing program to triple in size from around 30 student nurses per year to 100 per year. There are already more than 90 sophomores who have applied to become part of the Nursing Class of 2014.

A 12-station assessment skills lab will be used to practice physical assessment and diagnostic skills and to learn immunization techniques, safety methods and CPR. High-tech mannequins programmed to simulate a variety of physical symptoms and responses to medical interventions will be housed in a hospital-like setting where students assess and treat the  “patients” while faculty monitor the responses from an observation room.

This building will be so well equipped that in the event of a disaster it can be used as a 28-bed initial assessment site to triage patients prior to being transported to higher levels of care.

Construction is scheduled for completion this summer and classes will be taught in the facility beginning this fall.

A “topping-out” ceremony is a long-standing tradition of construction workers, particularly steel workers, to commemorate the completion of a building’s structure – specifically the placement of the final steel beam.