Blue Ridge Community College Unveils $21M Biosciences Building

Daily News-Record  8/7/19
WEYERS CAVE — The high-fidelity mannequin purchased this year for the EMS training program at Blue Ridge Community College may not fool anyone by the looks of it. But when you hear what it can do, it becomes clear why this tool is at the top of the line for simulating various medical situations.
Scott Vanderkooi, an EMS instructor, demonstrated how the high-fidelity mannequin can be programmed to talk, scream, have pupils dilated and breathing can be controlled.
“We wanted it to be as realistic as possible,” Vanderkooi said of the mannequin, which can also be unhooked and used remotely to give students an opportunity to learn how to backboard it and load it into ambulance.
The mannequin is just one new resource that comes with school’s brand new, 42,000- square- foot, $20.8 million biosciences building. The building has been under construction for 15 months.
On Tuesday a ribbon-cutting and open house was held for the new facility, and attended by stakeholders including U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R- Lexington; Sen.Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham; Del. Tony Wilt, R-Broadway; and Del. Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave.
The new biosciences building will house the microbiology labs, the regular biology labs, the nursing program, EMS and paramedic training and flexible lab spaces.
One soon-to-be-installed feature in the EMS and paramedic section of the biosciences building is part of an ambulance, which will allow students to
simulate what it’s actually like to load a patient and then treat them in that confined space, Vanderkooi said. “In the world of medicine it once was, you read it in a book and hoped to see the real thing,” he said. “This is as close to the real thing as we can get without actual patients.”
It’s not just the EMS program that is benefiting from new resources and more space. The nursing program has almost tripled in size.
In the new facility, there are 10 beds as opposed to previous five, with simulation mannequins similar to the EMS department. There is also a supply closet, two private patient rooms and a computer lab where instructors can observe students through a one-way mirror.
The nursing program at BRCC is four semesters long and each semester involves simulation. Students start out small with assessment before moving on to harder tasks such as inserting catheters.
The idea is to provide real-life scenarios and receive training in how to perfect them.