By Caitilin Eliason / Staff Writer
By Caitilin Eliason / Staff Writer
Grant money allows construction on the new Nursing/Science building to continue at Riverside City College.
In 2004, local voters approved a $350 million bond called Measure C, which provides funding for the construction of new buildings and classrooms at the three Riverside Community College District’s colleges.
Orin L. Williams, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning, design and construction, said in a report that the local funding from Measure C qualified the district for matching construction dollars from the state.
Riverside City College received $173.1 million from Measure C, and is using its share on a variety of projects, including the Nursing/Science building.
The project costs $56.8 million in total, with $15.5 million coming directly from the Measure C budget.
In addition, Riverside City College’s School of Nursing was recently awarded a $999,964 federal grant, part of which will go towards building costs.
Construction on the new nursing building comes at a time when nursing is in high demand.
The current economic situation makes nursing an attractive career because it offers financial stability and competitive pay, but the college cannot currently train as many students as it would like.
“RCC’s nursing department gets about 800-1200 applications for the registered nursing program every year, but only has 150 spots,” said Sandy Baker, dean of the school of nursing.
According to Baker, the new building will enable 150 additional pre-licensure nursing students to join the program.
In addition, it will allow the nursing program to offer more courses in areas such as critical care and emergency.
Student Riri Purba was asked if the new nursing building would encourage students to pursue nursing.
She said that it might, but for the most part nursing students are committed to becoming nurses, and do not need a new building to convince them.
“We want to come, we want to finish, we want to work hard. We are dedicated,” Purba said.
Student Greg Walker, on the other hand, sees the situation differently.
“The addition of the new building is increasing the number of classes, but that means it is also going to increase the number of people trying to take those classes. It will still be pretty difficult to get classes that the nursing students are trying to take,” Walker said.
The ability to increase the size of the nursing program is not the only advantage of the new building; many hope it will give existing students more space and additional resources that are currently unavailable.
“The biggest perk of the new building would be more space, so people can actually move,” said student Karina Bravo.
“Right now it’s like torture. Sixty people are in a room made for 40, and we are there for sometimes six hours a day,” Bravo said.
Purba agrees with her sentiment.
“We currently have only one bathroom for all of the nursing students, so more space is definitely necessary,” Purba said.
The only negative either Purba or Bravo could think of was less parking, and other students agree.
“The construction has made parking even more strenuous. It took a nice chunk of the lot away, so now everyone is trying to squeeze into the parking structure. Even at six in the evening, it is almost impossible to find a spot,” Walker said.
The new nursing, science, and math complex is set to open in August 2011, assuming construction stays on track.
“I won’t be here when the building is finished,” Bravo said, “But the new students will definitely enjoy it.”