Community Celebrates Opening of Biotechnology and Medical Simulation Center
About 350 public officials, Twin County residents, and members of the Edgecombe Community College community gathered on Friday, March 4, to dedicate the new Biotechnology and Medical Simulation Center on the Rocky Mount campus.
Visitors crowded into the auditorium in the new facility to listen as dignitaries congratulated ECC President Dr. Deborah Lamm and praised the state-of-the-art technology that is the hallmark of the new center.
Overflow from the auditorium watched the program through live streaming on TV monitors found on all three floors of the building.
“This is a great day for the city of Rocky Mount and the region,” commented Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs, who presented Dr. Lamm with a plaque commemorating the dedication.
“This facility is among the most significant things we’ve done as a board,” noted Leonard Wiggins, chair of the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners. “It’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked on,” echoed Lorenzo Carmon, former Edgecombe County manager who was at the helm during a majority of construction.
Carmon pointed out that the new Biotechnology and Medical Simulation Center is only the “second project in North Carolina funded with new market tax credits, and the first designed under design-build legislation.”
“The project came in on time and under budget,” he added.
The three-story, 45,000-square-foot Biotechnology Center cost more than $9.7 million to build and over $2.5 million to furnish. The facility houses 18 programs of study in health sciences, including curriculum and continuing education programs.
More than 1,200 students will use the facility annually.
Rocky Mount City Manager Charles Penny thanked Edgecombe residents for making the project possible by approving a ¼ cent sales tax referendum in November 2012. “This facility exemplifies the heart and will of Edgecombe County and reflects the can-do attitude of its citizens,” he said.
Several of the speakers acknowledged the pivotal role of Dr. Lamm in the concept, development, and completion of the facility. In his remarks, Penny shared a quote from Ellen Sirleaf, president of Liberia and the world’s first elected black female president: “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
“Dr. Lamm, thank you for dreaming big enough,” he said.
Following a ribbon cutting led by Wiggins and ECC Board of Trustees Chair Wick Baker, and a balloon release by ECC Health Sciences students, guests toured the facility to see demonstrations of the patient simulators by instructors and students.
The first floor of the new facility includes six training rooms furnished with pods, computers, and smart board technology to create a student-centered, active learning environment. A biotechnology lab also is housed on the first floor.
A simulated hospital environment fills the second floor, including an emergency room, imaging lab, exam rooms, phlebotomy lab, nursing skills lab, nurse assistant lab, debriefing rooms, and a nurses’ station.
The third floor features an operating room, obstetrics/neonatal room, occupational therapy lab, ICU, pulmonary function lab, respiratory care lab, home health/community health training room, counseling/mental health room, debriefing rooms, and a nurses’ station.
“Simulation technology can’t be appreciated until one sees students caring for and interacting with a lifelike manikin, one who is speaking and having difficulty breathing,” Dr. Lamm explained. “Simulated scenarios bridge the gap between the classroom and clinical experiences by helping students to apply what they learn in the classroom.”
Christie Satterfield, an adjunct Nursing instructor and certified midwife, was in charge of demonstrations using “Victoria,” a patient simulator who gives birth to a seven-pound baby simulator. “My master’s program didn’t have this technology. All we had was a torso,” she said. “And that was just a year and half ago.”
In her closing, Dr. Lamm reminded guests of the core mission of the facility and Edgecombe Community College. “Today, as we applaud the new construction and state-of-the-art technology, we celebrate students – the cornerstone of everything we do and all that we represent.”