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At FLCC, groundbreaking for $7.2M Sands Center for Allied Health

Daily Messenger logo Daily Messenger 6/9/2021 Julie Sherwood, MPNnow
a group of people posing for the camera: Finger Lakes Community College nursing students attending the groundbreaking for the Sands Center for Allied Health included (from left) Sam Peters and Sara Weigert. © [JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA] Finger Lakes Community College nursing students attending the groundbreaking for the Sands Center for Allied Health included (from left) Sam Peters and Sara Weigert.

HOPEWELL — The Sands Center for Allied Health will more than double the Finger Lakes Community College nursing program and provide a state-of-the-art facility nursing students and others lauded Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony.

a person holding a sign: Richard Sands, who spoke at the groundbreaking for the Sands Center for Allied Health, talked about what he learned from his parents about the importance of health care to a community. © [JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA] Richard Sands, who spoke at the groundbreaking for the Sands Center for Allied Health, talked about what he learned from his parents about the importance of health care to a community.

The Sands Family Foundation contributed $3 million to the $7.2 million building project. The new wing will allow the college to gradually double the number of students accepted into its registered nursing associate degree program. FLCC will also launch a one-year licensed practical nursing program.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras lauded the Sands gift as the “largest philanthropic donation in the college’s history.” Malatras and other speakers praised the project as providing a “top-notch, world-class” facility to fill a desperate need for nurses. 

The center will be constructed behind the main campus building on Marvin Sands Drive. The new wing is to be completed in phases throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

a group of people flying kites on a beach: Shovels went in the ground Tuesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Sands Center for Allied Health at Finger Lakes Community College. © JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA Shovels went in the ground Tuesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Sands Center for Allied Health at Finger Lakes Community College.

Nursing students Sam Peters and Sara Weigert said before the ceremony they are excited for the new facility that will come with advanced technology and related equipment.

Peters, who plans to graduate from the RN program next May, said one of the changes will allow students to train in a more real-life setting, as instructors can observe via camera instead of in the room with students.  Peters welcomes that method as she believes it will best test her skills. The students are also excited about the additional space and equipment the new center will provide for simulation, which allows students to repeatedly perform clinical practices.

Richard Sands, executive vice chair of Constellation Brands and co-chairman of the Sands Family Foundation, talked about learning from parents the importance of healthcare to a community. Sands said when FLCC President Robert Nye approached him with the concept of building the center, he “was astonished at the critical shortage of nurses.” Sands said he believes the new center can be a national model for training nurses.

a sign in front of a building: Displayed at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the Sands Center for Allied Health was a picture of what the new center will look like. © [JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA] Displayed at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the Sands Center for Allied Health was a picture of what the new center will look like.

Along with meeting demand among prospective nursing students, the expansion will meet demand from local healthcare systems looking for talented and qualified nurses. Thompson Health, which employs a number of FLCC nursing graduates at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua, will provide a faculty member for the LPN program.

The New York State Department of Labor projects the need for RNs in the Finger Lakes region alone will rise 18%, from 2016 to 2026. The projection across the state for RNs is about a 25% increase from 2018 to 2028. For LPNs the need is projected to rise more than 13% over the same period.

text: Ontario County Administrator Chris CeBolt speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sands Center for Allied Health. Seated at right is Richard Sands. © [JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA] Ontario County Administrator Chris CeBolt speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sands Center for Allied Health. Seated at right is Richard Sands.

Addressing the nursing shortage, state Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, said “whenever there is a need in the community, there is the Sands family.”

Ontario County Administrator Chris DeBolt said 80% of FLCC graduates stay in the area, “work here and raise their families here.” He said the new center will play a key role in “keeping Ontario County vibrant and growing.”

a group of people standing in front of a fence: State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, talks with Heather Reece-Tillack, Finger Lakes Community College professor of nursing and an alumna of the FLCC nursing program, after the groundbreaking Tuesday for the college’s Sands Center for Allied Health. © [JULIE SHERWOOD/MESSENGER POST MEDIA] State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, talks with Heather Reece-Tillack, Finger Lakes Community College professor of nursing and an alumna of the FLCC nursing program, after the groundbreaking Tuesday for the college’s Sands Center for Allied Health.

Heather Reece-Tillack, FLCC professor of nursing and an alumna of the FLCC nursing program, talked about the college and her career; she is now in her 30th year teaching nursing. She noted 2021 as the 50th year of the FLCC nursing program, recalling those early days of small classrooms for nursing students without even as much as running water.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has led to innovations in our teaching and learning experiences at FLCC, but more importantly, it has shown us the significant role nurses play in our healthcare system,” said Reece-Tillack. "Nurses not only provided exceptional care to those suffering from a frightening illness, they did so with great compassion. I am proud of the work we are doing here today to broaden and enhance our program as we begin our next 50 years of nursing education at FLCC.”

This article originally appeared on MPNnow: At FLCC, groundbreaking for $7.2M Sands Center for Allied Health

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