University Construction

Florida Higher Ed Institutions to Expand Nursing Education Opportunities

Daytona State College’s Palm Coast campus is set to begin a $4.2-million renovation project that will allow it to expand its nursing program. The college has partnered with DLR Group and Charles Perry Partners, Inc., on the construction that will create teaching facilities to fit an additional 90 nursing students.

“Students living in Palm Coast and the surrounding areas in Flagler County will be able to receive state-of-the-art nursing education at a nursing-dedicated complex,” said Associate Vice President of DSC’s College of Health & Public Services Dr. Colin Chesley. “They will be able to start and complete the entire program here and will be able to transition into local healthcare facilities to work.”

According to the Palm Coast Observer, students can transition from the Palm Coast campus to an online bachelor of science in nursing program that can be finished in as little as 14 months. The construction and the program’s expansion are meant to help combat a local shortage of healthcare professionals, said DSC’s director of marketing and communications Chris Thomes. The renovation work is scheduled to be finished by June 15.

Daytona State College isn’t the only higher education institution expanding healthcare education in the region.

Nursing students

In Oct. 2020, the University of North Florida established the UNF MedNexus in Palm Coast. Partnering with the city, Daytona State College, AdventHealth, and Allete Energy, the university set out to create “the nation’s first comprehensive, university-based medical and health care nexus, partnering with local medical centers and connecting healthcare providers with university students, faculty and researchers.”

UNF MedNexus began offering its first batch of courses in January, and the first class of Palm Coast nursing students will start this fall. A press release explained that the school aims to help alleviate a shortage of nursing and other medical professionals in the region by providing the necessary education and experience.

Similarly, in Dec. 2020, Jacksonville University announced that it was working with the city of Palm Coast to build a healthcare education campus in the Palm Coast Town Center. According to Matthew Swanson, the JU vice president of finance and busines operations, the university will “build out a 6,000-square-foot space in an existing building to create classrooms, labs and office space.”

The JU program also plans to start classes this fall. Degree offerings will include an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling and speech language pathology, and graduate nurse leadership and specialty practitioner programs.

Margaret Dees, the JU senior vice president of economic development, said that the university selected Palm Coast as the site of its new healthcare campus due to the area’s population trends and workforce and student necessities. “We think this will strengthen the whole region. There are all the right factors,” she said.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].