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Newberry College Breaks Ground on Nursing & Health Science Center

February 22, 2022


NEWBERRY — Newberry College broke ground Monday on the future of health care in South Carolina. Students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff gathered at the corner of College and Evans streets, shovels in hand, to officially begin the new Nursing & Health Science Center.


“This building will provide the space and technology necessary to prepare the next generation of healthcare professionals,” said President Maurice Scherrens. “The seeds we have sown, the soil that we turn today, will reap lifesaving benefits for our community for decades to come.”


The 11,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the-art classrooms and simulation labs. The site will be home to the nursing, health science, respiratory therapy and health science programs.


Dr. John Thompson, an internal medicine specialist who has lived and practiced in Newberry for 45 years, was recognized as a key supporter of the project. “Newberry College is one of the main reasons my wife and I wanted to come to Newberry to live and work,” he said. “As a member of the Newberry community and of the health care profession, this facility will have resounding benefits not only for the College, but for the community, and even the state.”


Dr. Sid Parrish, vice president for academic affairs, reviewed Newberry’s growing legacy of excellence in health care. “I arrived at Newberry College in 2006, and one of the first things we did was approve the addition of a nursing program. Since the program launched in 2009, we have prepared 202 qualified talented graduates for careers in nursing.


“In 2016, we launched the health care management major, exploring the business side of health. In 2017, we expanded our nursing programming to include RN-to-BSN, allowing working registered nurses to earn their bachelor's degrees in as few as 12 months. In 2018, we introduced the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy and graduated the first class of the following year. Newberry College’s respiratory therapy program is the only one of its kind in South Carolina, and 42 have earned their bachelor’s degrees to date.


“In 2019, we announced a degree in Health Science, a broad-based and versatile major that opens an infinite number of doors for students looking to go into the healthcare industry. And we have only just begun,” he said.


“Now more than ever, there is a desperate need for medical professionals, all over the country but especially in South Carolina. Shortages in nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors and other vital personnel have plagued the Palmetto State even before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the demand has only increased,” said Dr. Jerry Alewine, interim dean of nursing and health sciences and head of the respiratory therapy program.


Alewine said that personnel shortages have been caused by pandemic stress, increased demand, a shortage of qualified nursing instructors, and the ever-changing nature of the industry.


“The good that will come from this new building is too good to be articulated here. But I can tell you that this building will help save lives. And all those who have gotten us to this point – donors, administrators, students, faculty, staff, alumni – are life savers,” he added.


“Buildings come and go, but the dedication and innovation of Newberry College have helped push our world forward,” said Student Body President Nathaniel Carrasco. “And that is exactly what our new Nursing & Health Science Center will do.”


The facility is being designed by Jumper Carter Sease, with assistance from McMillan Pazdan Smith. The college has also partnered with JDavis Construction.


The college has two more groundbreakings planned this spring. Stadium Phase II is slated for March 12, and the newest residence hall will break ground April 29.


See this story as covered by ABC Columbia and on video by WLTX.

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