Columbia College Adjusts to New "Federal Hall" Building

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COLUMBIA - Students and employees of Columbia College who moved into the Federal Hall building a few weeks ago said Thursday that they found the larger space and new equipment an exciting, much-needed change.

The 30,000 square foot building used to operate as YouZeum, a health museum that had to close for financial reasons. Now, however, it has been renovated to fit new state-of-the-art facilities for the school's nursing program and an expanded office space for its Online Learning Center.

Ernest Wren, the assistant dean for the Columbia College online campus, said the space in the new building was very much needed because the Columbia College community is growing exponentially. In fact, the school enrolled more than 76,000 students this year, as compared to just under 3,000 students 10 years ago. This year, 22,500 of the students decided to take online classes.

Wren said, "We have really positive growth going with the online campus, but it has provided a need for additional staffing, as well as space."

The college also added a video conferencing room, a break room lounge, and patient exam rooms for students to get hands-on experience.

Samantha Matthews is a first session nursing student at the college. She said she definitely thinks the new building was needed.

"The new technology and the new products they had brought in and the new equipment just makes it a fun place to learn now, and I think that's just refreshing for students to want to come to class and want to learn," Matthews said.

Students in past years had to conduct labs and simulations in a renovated church on campus with only three hospital beds to practice with. This new building allows students to not only practice as if they were actually in the ER with 10 hospital beds, but also allows them to use a life-size doll that reacts as students try to diagnose and help it.

Linda Claycomb, the director of the Columbia College nursing program, said, "the new technology allows them to practice techniques they won't get to do very often in the clinical area but they're important to know. So when those times come up and they need to be competent, they are in those skills."

Columbia College will hold an open house in Federal Hall next month.