New combined nursing center for URI/RIC proposed for ‘Knowledge District’

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KINGSTON, R.I. – March 17, 2010 — Junior and senior nursing students at the University of Rhode Island who already complete many of their clinical requirements in Providence area hospitals may have a new home base in the capital city in just a few years.

Gov. Donald L. Carcieri has proposed a $60 million bond issue to build a state-of-the-art, 121,000 square-foot nursing center that would house operations of the URI College of Nursing and the RIC School of Nursing. The proposal is the result of efforts by the Board of Governors for Higher Education to address the need for new nursing facilities in the most cost effective and collaborative manner.

The bond issue would be put before voters on the November 2010 ballot. Construction on the facility in what has been termed the Providence “Knowledge District” is scheduled to begin in 2012, with completion planned by the end of 2013.

University and college officials discussed the plan at the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The project would allow both URI and RIC to increase enrollment by 50 to 60 students per year. While each institution would retain its own programs and identities, they would share classrooms, laboratories and technology in the new building.

Initially, each institution had planned for separate facilities on each of its campuses at a total cost of about $80 million.

Dayle Joseph, dean of URI’s College of Nursing, said the combined nursing facility would benefit the University in a number of ways, including offering a convenient academic base for upper level students already doing clinical work in the Providence area. Freshmen and sophomore nursing students would complete their first two years on the Kingston campus.

“This will increase our ability to bring in graduate students, including attracting doctoral candidates from the Boston area,” Joseph said. “The facility is important to our faculty because they already have many partnerships with Providence area hospitals. Of course, Rhode Island College faculty have always been our colleagues, and we envision collaborations between our Student Nurses Associations.”