Sinclair invests $32M in health care, UAS programs

Sinclair Community College will spend $25 million to consolidate its health sciences programs into a single, expanded facility to allow for 25 percent student growth over the next decade to meet the region’s expected health care workforce needs, school officials said Tuesday.

The proposed Health Sciences Center was part of $32 million in strategic investments announced Tuesday that also include initiatives to boost Sinclair’s aviation and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) training programs, and encourage overall student retention and degree completion.

The $32 million in projects represents Sinclair’s largest investment in 40 years, said Steven Johnson, Sinclair president.

In addition to the $25 million Health Sciences Center project, the other investments include $5 million for the National UAS Training and Certification Center and $2 million for an Integrated Student Services Center.

Johnson said the investments “will result in more innovative, community-aligned, accessible, higher quality, and sustainable programs and services for this region.”

Most of the initiatives involve renovations of existing campus buildings, as opposed to new construction, said Adam Murka, a Sinclair spokesman.

The Health Sciences Center will converge 13 programs currently spread across Sinclair’s downtown Dayton campus into one facility with the renovation and expansion of Building 14.

“With an industry as important and complex as health care, both nationally and locally, Sinclair has to make sure that it has the capacity and resources to meet what we see as evolving workforce needs in that industry,” Murka said.

“This investment allows us to keep pace with market demand and it allows us to produce the skilled professionals that the industry is going to need,” he said.

The $25 million project, which includes a 25,000-square-foot addition to the existing structure, will allow Sinclair to expand laboratory and clinical space for students, as well as for area health care workers participating in continuing education programs.

Murka said the expansion will allow for 25 percent student growth potential over the next decade.

“Sinclair continues to be a great partner in making sure that we have people with the right skills at the right time to deliver care for our community,” said Bryan Bucklew, president of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

Bucklew said his organization works closely with Sinclair to identify positions that are needed immediately, as well as into the future.

“I think the investment Sinclair is making in this is only going to continue to enhance their ability to meet the workforce needs of our community, especially in health care,” Bucklew said.

Sinclair’s health sciences division offers 16 degrees, including nursing, dental hygiene and radiologic technology, as well as 17 professional certificates. The division has 11 academic departments, and 285 faculty and staff.

Funding for the Health Sciences Center project includes $8 million in capital investments from the state of Ohio, Murka said. The remainder will come from the college’s master planning reserve fund, as well as partnership contributions, he said.

Sinclair plans to secure a contractor for the building renovation in March or April 2016, and break ground on the expansion shortly thereafter. An opening date for the Health Sciences Center has not been determined, Murka said.

The Integrated Student Services Center project involves renovating Buildings 10 and 11, where most student services currently are located.

The renovations and additional training for Sinclair staff will enhance the college’s ability to deliver individualized services and to help students with career and academic advising, financial aid, registration, and other services that are important in attracting students and keeping them on track to graduation.

“Our goal is to dramatically increase student completion” to 5,000 degrees and certificates awarded annually by 2018, a 46 percent increase from the 3,417 awarded in 2014, Murka said.

The $2 million Student Services Center project will be funded through the college reserve fund, he said.

The $5 million National UAS Training and Certification Center project involves the renovation of Building 13 to allow for the co-location of the college’s UAS and aviation technology programs.

Plans call for construction of a new, two-and-a-half story, free-standing indoor “flying pavilion” for UAS flight training, adjacent to Building 13.

The state has contributed $4 million to build the UAS center. Groundbreaking for the flying pavilion is scheduled for May, with competition expected by January 2016, Murka said.

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