HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Alabama Governor Kay Ivey presented a $1 million grant today to assist Huntsville Hospital in building a nursing simulation lab at Calhoun Community College's Huntsville campus.
Ivey said this is a commitment to quality healthcare and will benefit residents across the Tennessee Valley who will have quality nurses to care for them.
The lab is the final piece necessary for Calhoun to establish a new nursing program in Huntsville, like its program in Decatur.
According to Calhoun officials, the new two-year education program could graduate up to 48 additional registered nurses a year beginning in 2020.
Joining Ivey at the announcement were HH Health System CEO David Spillers, COO Jeff Samz and Dr. James Klauber, President of Calhoun Community College.
Spillers said the partnership is "perfectly timed for our community and region. The need for more nurses is significant across the country. This is especially so in areas that are growing like Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley. We are grateful to Governor Ivey for providing the funds which help make this a reality."
Samz added, "The winners in this partnership are the patients across our community who will have greater access to the nursing care they need. This project is indicative of how state government, our community college and our public hospital can work together for the benefit of Alabamians."
Calhoun's President Klauber said, "Huntsville Hospital and Calhoun Community College have for many years enjoyed a very successful partnership. Each year, the Hospital provides much needed clinical training slots for many of our nursing students, and recognizes the quality of our graduates by regularly hiring a significant number of them."
"We value our partnership and see this exciting, new initiative as an extension of this relationship as the Hospital and College work together to help fill our community's growing demand for highly-trained and qualified nurses. The launch of our nursing program this fall at our Huntsville campus will create 48 new slots for our nursing program, which represents a 20 percent increase in the size of our program overall," Klauber added.
Hospital and school officials estimated the cost of the building and furnishing the nursing simulation lab at $2.5 million. The $1 million grant from the Alabama Capital Improvement Trust Fund will be used towards the construction of the lab.
Huntsville Hospital will provide the balance of the funding and will oversee the construction project in coordination with Calhoun staff. Ongoing costs for the clinical faculty and facility operating expenses will be Calhoun's responsibility.
Officials are hopeful that the project at Calhoun's Huntsville campus will be ready to accept students by August of this year.
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