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RMU Breaks Ground on New School of Nursing Building

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Robert Morris University celebrated the groundbreaking for a new building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences on Friday, Sept. 19 at its Moon Township campus.

The 30,000-square-foot facility will include the Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center, RMU’s state-of-the-art medical simulation laboratory that currently is housed in the John Jay Center with the rest of the university’s nursing programs.

The new building allows RMU to expand the professional development and training programs it offers to local health care professionals – including physicians, nurses, and EMTs – as well offer resources to the community at large. For example, the building will include a model apartment that experts can use to demonstrate to families how they can configure their homes to care for an ill loved one.

 “This building will support the important work we are doing with our own students and the community to improve the health and quality of life for all our citizens in western Pennsylvania,” said Valerie Howard, dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “It provides a space for all our faculty, students, and staff to come together, share ideas, and work toward our common goals.”

Robert Morris first offered a nursing degree in 2003 with 18 students enrolled. Four years later it formed the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and today enrollment stands at 793 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, including wholly online degree and certificate programs. Its doctor of nursing practice program, launched in 2008, was the first to be certified by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing, and its nuclear medicine technology program was the first such four-year degree offered in western Pennsylvania.

The School of Nursing and Health Sciences enjoys partnerships with the region’s premiere health care providers, including Highmark, UPMC, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and the Heritage Valley Health System. At least twice each year RMU nursing students and faculty travel to Nicaragua to provide health care to residents in the barrios of Managua in what has become one of the university’s signature study abroad and student engagement activities.

“The School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been one of the great success stories in RMU’s recent history. In a relatively short period of time the school has established itself as a leader in health care education and medical simulation, clinical research, and community service on a global scale,” said RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo.

The School of Nursing and Health Sciences building will be the third new academic facility that Robert Morris has built since 2011. That year, the School of Business Building opened, followed a year later by the Wheatley Center, home to the School of Communications and Information Systems. During the same time period, Robert Morris has built a new apartment-style residence hall, Salem Hall, and converted a former hotel less than a mile from campus into Yorktown Hall, the university’s largest student residence.

The nursing school building is the next step in RMU’s plan to provide dedicated space for each of its five academic schools. Currently the School of Nursing and Health Sciences shares a home in the John Jay Center with the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, which will expand its space in John Jay once the nursing school moves to its new building. When Wheatley Center opened, the School of Education and Social Sciences, whose faculty had been scattered across campus, moved into the Nicholson Center in space previously occupied by the School of Communications and Information Systems.

“These new and renovated facilities will allow our schools to become true communities of scholars, and give our faculty the tools they need to prepare our students for meaningful careers and engaged lives, which has always been at the heart of our mission at Robert Morris,” said Dell’Omo.