$31.3M Healthcare Education Center at Owens could help combat nursing shortage

Expanded community college facility set to open in phases beginning Fall 2024.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:15 PM EST
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PERRYSBURG TWP., Ohio (WTVG) - Construction is underway on a $31.3M Healthcare Education Center at Owens Community College. It’s set to be a training ground for those going into a field that’s in high demand.

“I’ve been a hair stylist for 23 years and I’ve been on a pretty long fertility journey, so this was something that came up during COVID to be a part of that. Some people that I’ve met along my own journey have inspired me to do this,” said Candy Summerskill, a sonography student at Owens.

The corridors that are now filled with construction workers will soon be home to high-tech labs and spaces designed for training to mimic the hands-on scenarios of the real world.

“Nice because the rooms will be identical versus what we have now. They’re kind of different, so it’s hard to go back-and-forth with the different practicals and stuff. So, I’m excited to see the new equipment, for sure,” explained Emily Huber, a radiology student.

Phase one of the facility, which is a renovation of an existing building on campus, is set to open Fall 2024. It can’t come soon enough, according to Owens administrators.

“The need isn’t just now. I think a lot of times we hear about, you know, what has happened post-COVID and the people who have left the field or the retirements, but what our healthcare industry partners are telling us is that they believe that that need is going to persist and even grow,” said Dione Somerville, President of Owens Community College.

“All of the programs will have updated state-of-the-art lab facilities. Everything is really expanded, and students will be able to just learn in the best learning spaces that we can provide for them,” added Cathy Ford, Dean of the Owens School of Nursing and Health Professionals.

The goal is to have more space to accommodate even more students, boosting enrollment and ultimately increasing the number of healthcare workers in our region. Two years after getting started, many of those students will have Associates Degrees along with jobs in healthcare.

“You know, the burnout is real, and so to bring a fresh perspective to nursing and just do my best every day to make a difference in somebody’s life,” commented Mandy Clemens, a Nursing Student at Owens.

Administrators tell 13 Action News $25M of the project was bonded with the start-up $1.5M coming from state capital funding.

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