ACC nursing program gets $12K

ALPENA — Alpena Community College’s Nursing Program has received approval for a $12,121 grant from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to be used for the purchase of simulation equipment. The money is being distributed through LARA’s Nurse Professional Fund Grant to approved nursing education programs.

The grant money will have a two-fold impact on ACC’s Nursing Program: It provides seed money for the purchase of simulation equipment to be used immediately by ACC nursing students, and the new purchase will help ACC demonstrate how it plans to modernize the nursing program through the Center for Health Sciences project.

When ACC’s Director of Nursing Melissa Fournier first became aware of the LARA grant opportunity she immediately recognized how the money could be used to augment the college’s efforts to provide new equipment and lab space for her program.

“We are currently finalizing plans for the relocation and expansion of the nursing program to Van Lare Hall,” said Fournier. “Part of the expansion will be the addition of state-of-the-art simulation manikins. The LARA grant money enables ACC to purchase a new piece of equipment in the next couple of months and then get it in the hands of students as soon as possible. But the new equipment can also be used to demonstrate how we plan to expand the nursing curriculum to make use of the latest technologies.”

Plans call for Van Lare Hall to be extensively renovated as part of the effort to move and expand the nursing program. Constructed in 1957, Van Lare Hall is the oldest building on the main campus of ACC and a central piece of ACC’s legacy. Occupying 40,000 square feet on ACC’s most picturesque property, Van Lare Hall houses key administrative and academic support functions along with a dozen general purpose classrooms. It is a solid, functional building that has served as the focal point of higher education in Northeast Michigan for more than 60 years.

The Center for Health Sciences project will provide space and updated technology for the ACC Nursing Program, including a $1 million state-of-the-art simulation learning lab to better prepare nursing students for real world experiences caring for patients in a variety of clinical settings. The project will also include a community gathering space overlooking the Thunder Bay River and improvements to Van Lare Hall’s windows, HVAC and electrical systems, and the building’s exterior. The projected cost of the project is $8.7 million, with $6.9 million in funding secured so far.

The Alpena Community College Foundation has taken on the challenge of raising money to fund the renovation of Van Lare Hall. As part of their Healthy Futures Start Here campaign, the ACC Foundation has pledged to raise $2.95 million for the project.

“The LARA grant moves us closer to the foundation’s commitment, with only $243,000 left to raise,” said ACC Foundation Executive Director Brenda Herman. “I invite everyone in the community to invest in healthcare education by making a gift in any denomination to support ACC’s Center for Health Sciences.”