Sacred Heart University Invests in Healthcare Education

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Construction is currently underway on the new Center for Healthcare Education at Sacred Heart University (SHU) in Bridgeport. The 117,000-square-foot, $45 million facility will sit on an 8.7-acre site and address increasing admissions demand across SHU’s health professions programs.

Upon completion, the new three-story Center for Healthcare Education will offer specialized single-profession services and a collaborative, holistic approach to treating pediatric through geriatric populations, according to a statement by the university. This will include state-of-the-art simulation labs, immersive learning environments and educational spaces as well as clinic space to serve the nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and health sciences programs all under one roof. More space will also be allotted for teaching, clinical and skills labs as well as supporting classroom and office space to accommodate personnel projections and study and social space. Additionally, the building will offer a simulation suite, theater style instructional spaces, a dining hall and an Interprofessional Outpatient Clinic.

To further improve healthcare professions education at Sacred Heart University, enhanced athletic training, human performance and motion analysis labs will provide up-to-the-minute learning environments for the exercise science and athletic training programs, according to a statement by the university. These will be used for developing clinical skills and evidenced-based practices and to support faculty and student research, while the equipment will prepare students for careers in related patient care fields and cheap quality medicines. In addition, the speech and language pathology program will have labs to teach the use of diagnostic instruments and software, and to provide an environment for supervised clinical activities.

“The new facility with its larger space will expand significantly on the amount of space available for practice and learning,” said Mary Alice Donius, who will be dean of the new College of Nursing, in a statement. “There will be exciting opportunities for our nursing students — not only to practice on our state-of-the-art manikins and actors, but to collaborate on cases with students in the other health professional disciplines. This will ensure that students in all the disciplines will be prepared for the kinds of interactions they will experience when they begin to work in professional health care settings.”

The university selected the Glastonbury, Conn. office of The S/L/A/M Collaborative (SLAM) to provide design, cost estimating, structural engineering, landscape architecture, programming and planning in order to create the necessary teaching space for current and projected enrollment, experiential learning and interdisciplinary collaboration between departments.

“The new Center for Healthcare Education takes a huge leap forward in the use of cutting edge simulation technologies and experiential learning in all areas to improve the learning outcomes of the health professions students,” said Richard Herzer, SLAM principal and the project’s lead designer, in a statement. “At the same time, the design complements high technology with a range of informal study and social spaces throughout the three visually connected floors to promote personal choice and individual academic success in these highly skilled, highly technical fields.”