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Renovation helps cure space needs for nurses

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Lourdes College students Sarah Bertz, left, Tara Pulsipher, and Melanie Pakulski practice their nursing skills with an interactive dummy that mimics patients.

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Student Sarah Bertz proudly showed off equipment in a new nursing center at Lourdes College yesterday, including a mannequin that can yell out in pain just as real patients do.

But she was equally excited about the new space she now has to work in following the recent $800,000 renovation of a building on campus, now home to the private college's expanded nursing center.

"This is incredible," said Miss Bertz, 22, of Bedford Township. "Space was a problem before. We had everything we needed, but it was just small."

Lourdes College officials yesterday showed off their nursing center, in which laboratory space alone has tripled in size to 6,000-square-feet over several rooms.

Patient beds have increased from four to 13, and more equipment - including stocked bedside tables - can be found throughout the facility.

The center is housed in a former cafeteria that was used by the Sisters of Saint Francis. It was renovated over several months and opened as quickly as possible in order to meet an increase in nursing students, officials said.

"It just wasn't sufficient anymore. We needed more space, particularly because of our growing population," said Cheryl Schriner, dean of the colleges' School of Nursing and Allied Health.

In the past year, student enrollment in the nursing program has more than doubled to 350 students.

The facility was named after primary donors Dick and Dolly Flasck of Sylvania Township. Mrs. Flasck is a retired nurse and also a former member of the Lourdes College board of trustees.

The amount of their donation was not disclosed, but it marked the first time that Lourdes College leaders have named a building after donors.

Area corporations and hospitals, among others, have made smaller contributions to the project as well.

The college is still seeking donations to fully fund the renovation.

"I just think the students needed this," Mrs. Flasck said. "Lourdes puts out competent and caring nurses. With the nursing shortage, we need to support that."

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