Two years ago, on a chilly winter morning, construction crews at Howard Community College broke ground on a new building.

On Monday morning, local elected and college officials cut the ribbon on the new Health Sciences Building, signaling the completion of another chapter in the college's expansion.


HCC President Kathleen Hetherington called the ribbon-cutting "exciting," and said the new facility would help prepare students for jobs in numerous health care fields, addressing staffing shortages facing the industry.

Georgene Butler, division chair of health sciences and nursing professor, said the college can now better meet the needs of the students and, in turn, "the demands of the health science arenas."

The building price tag of $50.7 million was paid with state and county funds. Howard County Council Chairwoman Jen Terrasa called the endeavor an example of the "great partnerships" that exist in the county.

Terrasa, along with County Council members Calvin Ball, Mary Kay Sigaty, Courtney Watson and Greg Fox, as well as Delegates Gail Bates, Warren Miller, Frank Turner, James Malone, Guy Guzzone and State Senators Allan Kittleman, Jim Robey and Ed Kasemeyer were all on hand for the event.

The new, 113,000 square-foot building will house the cardiovascular technology, emergency medical services, exercise science, life fitness, health care, health education, human services, nursing, nutrition, radiological technology and public health programs. The new programs of dental hygienist, medical laboratory technician, medical diagnostic sonography and physical therapist assistant also will be housed in the new building.

Crews are still putting the finishing touches on the building, Hetherington said, like setting up furniture. But the building will be open to students when the spring semester begins Jan. 28, and like her nearly 2,200 fellow health science students, LaTarsha Savoy can't wait.

"The technology here is so much better — the computers have been upgraded, the (simulation labs) have been upgraded," said Savoy, 30, a second-year nursing student.

Having the health science students in one building, Savoy said, means they can all come together to study, learn and collaborate.

"We can talk to each other about what we've learned," she said. "It just makes everything better."