Sinclair’s new $31.5M health sciences center opens for first classes

The new $31.5 million Sifferlen Health Sciences Center that opened Monday to Sinclair Community College students is part of the the school’s plan to improve swaths of its downtown campus.

The remodeled 141,000-square-foot health sciences center opened to students even though parts of the building are still under construction. The new center brings together all of the community college’s health sciences classrooms under the same roof for the first time, spokesman Adam Murka.

The college is planning to invest more than $21 million on the 80-acre campus over the next three years to redesign parts of campus, on top of millions more in infrastructure upgrades. In July, Sinclair officials announced the school may also add a Centerville location by purchasing and converting Fall Hills Church into a learning Center for $6 million to $10 million.

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Sinclair offers 19 degrees and 30 certificates in health sciences and the departments annual budget is $12 million, according to the school. With 6,385 students enrolled in health sciences programs and more than 8,500 taking preparation courses for the program, a a new and larger building for it made sense, officials said.

“This is more than a building – it is a strategy. We are revolutionizing the delivery of health care education using state of the art simulation and collaborative education that replicates the modern hospital,” Sinclair president Steve Johnson said in a prepared statement. “This facility also reflects a promise we made and kept to the people of Montgomery County that our tax levy would benefit our students and the community we serve.”

The new building was about 15 years in the making and about $16 million of it was paid for through levy revenue, Murka said. Some of Sinclair’s savings and existing state funds were also used for the project.

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Sinclair partnered with around 26 businesses in the community to build the health science center, Woodruff said. Evidence of help from Ohio businesses is noticeable throughout, from a donated La-Z-Boy chair in a “home health care lab” to the “Premier Health Grand Entrance.”

The front entrance of the facility is still being constructed, parts of the landscape are still fenced off and boxes remain half-unpacked in some labs. The project, which would have normally have taken two years to complete, was finished in just one year, said Woody Woodruff, Sinclair facilities manager.

“This deadline was not a false deadline. It had to be done,” Woodruff said. “So, we pulled out all the stops.”

The building added more lab and work-space for students than was previously available. In some cases, such as with the dental program, Sinclair added more workstations than currently needed in order to account for expected growth, Woodruff said.

RELATED: Sinclair Community College will seek renewal of $27M levy

New simulation labs are equipped with cameras and recording devices so students can watch and review their performances. Professors will also be able to use the technology to live-stream simulations to review in real-time or allow classes to watch.

Sinclair looked to closely model the building’s simulators and labs after ones actually in real medical facilities. That attention to detail has brought the school praise from both faculty, students and area hospitals Murka said.

“I think that this facility is the best of its kind anywhere in the nation,” Murka said. “I can’t imagine a better facility for the students and for the employers of the Dayton region who are very excited that we’re open for business.”

The fully-finished health sciences center will be on display for an open house celebration the college will host from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 7.

During the free event, Sinclair will offer tours of the new building, wellness screenings and activities and refreshments. Faculty will also be available to talk about Sinclair’s programs.

By the numbers

Sinclair Community College opened its new health sciences center Monday for the first day of classes.

$31.5 million: Total cost of the new facility.

141,000: Square footage of the new health sciences center.

26: The number of businesses Sinclair worked with on the project.

6,385: Number of students enrolled in health sciences programs.

19: Number of degrees Sinclair offers in health sciences fields.

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