Markin Hall to include nursing skills lab in plans

It's never too late to do things right – especially with the future of a showcase building at stake.

As Markin Hall, the new home for the Faculties of Management and Health Sciences, nears its completion date, a significant addition to the plans was made recently with a keen eye to the future. Sensing the rapid growth in student numbers within the Faculty of Health Sciences, the University redesigned space within Markin Hall to include an expanded nursing skills lab.

"It only makes sense to put the skills lab into the new building," Vice-President (Academic) Andy Hakin says. "This is an integral part of Health Sciences programming and in the original plans, this skills lab was going to be separate from Markin Hall. We have the chance now to address this before the building is complete and it thereby allows us to accommodate the full spectrum of activity in Health Sciences."

The proposed lab will more than double the size of available teaching space in the current skills lab, from 85 square metres to 180. Up to 16 students will be able to occupy the lab at any given time, and with its design and extreme high-tech focus, it will serve as a showcase facility for the faculty.

"It will be state-of-the-art and outfitted for the latest training equipment used by health science professionals," says project manager Brian Sullivan.
"Having this teaching space in their building is going to make a huge difference to their program."

The lab will be outfitted with nursing stations, including some with mannequins that are operated from a separate control room that looks onto the lab. From there instructors can program the mannequins to react to stimuli, mimicking responses of real patients.

"The level of sophistication in that space is extremely high," says Sullivan.
Sullivan says the lab can be incorporated into Markin Hall with relative ease, only delaying the opening of the west side of the building's second level. The rest of the facility will not be affected and its opening will actually come sooner than planned.

"The way things are going now, we'll be able to start moving in the first week of May 2010 and we had originally looked at the beginning of June," says Sullivan of a process that will move approximately 20 people per week and take the better part of two months. "This project has gone very smoothly. Stuart Olson Construction is very well organized and has done a very good job from start to almost finish."

While the nursing skills lab is the showcase piece of the Health Sciences portion of the building, the Faculty of Management has its own space to brag about – the Financial Trading Room.

"It is the key element for the Faculty of Management. It's a high-tech, state-of-the-art facility that will provide students with hands-on stock trading and risk management experience," says Sullivan. "It'll be equipped with trading floor-like equipment, allowing students to either simulate trades or trade in a real-time environment."

Designed to seat 38 students, the trading floor is an outstanding complement to the Management curriculum and gives Markin Hall a truly unique flavour. Combined with the Health Science nursing skills lab, Markin is destined to become a provincial leader in two of Alberta's key governmental priorities, once again positioning the University of Lethbridge at the head of the post-secondary class.