Kinsley Construction Company of York, Pa., was recently selected as the builder of Harford Community College's new Nursing and Allied Health Building.
Kinsley was selected for the $13.9 million contract after members of the HCC Board of Trustees reviewed eight bids during their April 26 work session, college officials announced Friday.
The board members agreed during their April 9 meeting to reject the initial eight bids offered for the construction portion since the bids were all higher than what had been budgeted for construction – the board set aside $17.4 million for all aspects of the project in the college's capital budgets for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years.
"I think it's going to be a tremendous addition to the college as a whole, and especially for those Nursing and Allied Health programs," HCC President Dennis Golladay said Monday.
The building, formally known as Darlington Hall, will comprise 51,628 square feet among three stories on land east of Thomas Run Road. It will provide enough space to house all of the college's continuing education and for-credit Nursing and Allied Health programs under one roof.
Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-June and be complete by September 2014. Kinsley has been the contractor for several major projects in Pennsylvania and Harford County – including the construction of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
"I'm very excited about the potential this new building brings to the community," said Kathy Archer, a registered nurse and director for Allied Health programs in the college's Division of Continuing Education and Training. "For the first time ever in the history of Harford Community College we are housing together, under one roof, both the credit and the continuing education divisions."
Golladay said having continuing education and credit programs under one roof "is important, not only for the potential growth of those [Nursing and Allied Health] programs and the addition of new programs," but would allow for "cross fertilization" of the disciplines.
Archer said all of the college's existing Nursing and Allied Health programs which include, but are not limited to paramedic courses, medical office courses, nursing assistant, nursing refreshers (which allow nurses who have been out of the profession for at least five years to reactivate their state licenses ), EKG technician, phlebotomy technician, pharmacy technician, veterinary assistant and more will be in the same building.
Existing programs will be enhanced, as well. As an example, the medical office program, which covers billing, coding and medical administrative assistant training, will be enhanced with a "new and improved" element related to the implementation of electronic medical records in health care facilities, which is required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as ObamaCare.
Archer said grant funds, obtained through CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for the HCC Emerging Technologies Project: Electronic Health Records, will support the infusion of technology in the classroom, such as using tablets and hybrid laptop computers.
Laura Cianelli-Preston, dean of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, said the building will be filled with technology which takes existing technology used in nursing programs to the next level.
"What we're going to have in our new building will really be the latest and greatest in terms of technology," she said.
Cianelli-Preston said the shared computer labs will be open to students for online learning and electronic testing, which will allow the Nursing and Allied Health program to do away with paper and pencil tests.
"It will be more similar to the way students take their licensure exam so they'll have more practice taking computer generated and computerized exams," she said.
Students can also practice their skills on "computer-driven mannequins," which replicate human functions such as a pulse, blood pressure, heart and lung sounds and more.
Cianelli-Preston said the mannequins are used now, but the building will have the electronic infrastructure to better store and share the results of the use of mannequins and other research and testing.
Students in a classroom will also be able to watch in real time as the mannequins being worked on in another room.
Cianelli-Preston said the building's architects spent a great deal of time with students and faculty to learn what fits their wants and needs.
"There has just been a lot of thought [put] into the way students learn, the best way for students to work together," she said.