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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Senator tours new nursing facility

Murray says building represents money well-spent

Sen. Patty Murray tours the new College of Nursing Building at the Riverpoint Campus on Wednesday. Nursing students Courtney Yant, left, and Viktor Rybachuk demonstrate a teaching mannequin connected to a computer that gives audio feedback during exams.  (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)
Sen. Patty Murray tours the new College of Nursing Building at the Riverpoint Campus on Wednesday. Nursing students Courtney Yant, left, and Viktor Rybachuk demonstrate a teaching mannequin connected to a computer that gives audio feedback during exams. (CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington state doesn’t just need more nurses; it needs more nursing teachers. The Washington State University College of Nursing Building will provide more of both.

On Wednesday, dignitaries including U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and WSU President Elson Floyd toured the new $34.6 million facility built with state money on Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus.

In addition, Congress has appropriated about $2.3 million for the project, including funding for distance education and clinical simulation technology, said Patricia Butterfield, dean of the College of Nursing.

In a nod to tax protests Wednesday, Murray called the federal funding for the college “one of those famous earmarks” we’ve heard so much about.

The senator said she could not think of a better way to spend taxpayer dollars. Too few people work in the health care field, she said, and “this facility helps to meet that challenge.”

The 87,516-square-foot facility provides the College of Nursing with the space and technology to train nurses and attract faculty. Teachers moved into the building in November. Students started taking courses there in January.

Its advanced distance learning classrooms enable faculty in Spokane to teach classes at the College of Nursing’s other sites in Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Yakima.

WSU, in collaboration with the other members of the nursing consortium – Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University – turns out more baccalaureate nurses than any other facility in the state.

The program outgrew the Magnuson Nursing Building, which housed the Intercollegiate College of Nursing on Spokane’s Fort George Wright Drive.

The new building, adjacent to the Health Sciences Building on the Riverpoint Campus, provides easier access to Spokane’s hospitals, clinics and patients, said Anne Hirsch, senior associate dean.

There are 637 nursing students studying in Spokane, including 574 undergraduates.

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