BLUE BELL, Pa. - Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) broke ground Thursday to officially kick off the transformation of its existing Physical Education facility at the Central Campus in Blue Bell into a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Center. The project scope includes both a full-scale renovation, as well as a 76,000 square-foot expansion of the building.
In addition to state-of-the-art learning spaces for Health Sciences programs, the new Center will allow MCCC to grow its Mustangs intercollegiate athletics program. Reintroduced in 2008, Mustangs student-athletes currently compete in men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball, baseball and softball as part of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), Region 19.
"Today marks a new chapter in the intercollegiate athletics program at Montgomery County Community College," said Athletic Director Bruce Bach. "Our student-athletes will have a state-of-the-art new home to train and practice in, as well as host and win many games."
The Center's key fitness and athletics features will include a new multi-purpose competitive gym with seating for 1,100 people; a renovated educational gym; a 7,000 square-foot fitness center; a large exercise studio; and a healthy café in a large, sky-lit atrium.
"This facility will help to position Montgomery County Community College as the regional leader in health and wellness education," said Dr. James J. Linksz, interim president, MCCC. "Ultimately, our goal is to transform the lives of those we serve."
When completed in late 2016, the Health Sciences Center will house many of MCCC's existing Health Sciences programs -- Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Assistant, Phlebotomy, Medical Assisting, Health and Fitness Professional, Exercise Science and Wellness, Medical Office Assistant, and Medical Coding -- as well its Mustangs' intercollegiate athletics teams and fitness facilities.
The expanded Center also enables the College to introduce several new programs in high priority occupations that will expand health care career options for students in the region. These include associate's degree programs in Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Public Health; a credit certificate program in Massage Therapy; and a Specialty Certificate in Expanded Function Dental Assistant.
"The Center is designed to reflect real-world health care environments, where health care professionals work together in interdisciplinary teams to care for people," explained Dr. Beverly Welhan, dean of health sciences, MCCC. "The building's shared learning spaces support collaboration and flexibility. For example, we will be able to create real-world simulation scenarios in the Center's Mock Apartment, where Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapy Assistant students can come together to plan care for a person at home following surgery."
The Center's learning spaces -- which include a modern Dental Hygiene Clinic, 24 classrooms and seminar rooms, and program specific laboratories and instructional facilities -- will contain the latest innovations in health care education to best prepare students for their clinical experiences and, ultimately, for employment upon graduation.
"Through the many great advances in technology, the opportunity for simulation has revolutionized healthcare education. The state-of-the-industry simulation laboratories throughout the Health Sciences Center design will enable faculty to replicate real-world, acute care and emergency situations in very safe nonthreatening learning environments," said Welhan.
To learn more about Health Sciences programming at MCCC, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences.