New Health Sciences building on tap at OC

Posted on January 11, 2021

The Odessa College Board of Trustees approved an agreement to name the new health sciences building the Wood Health Sciences Building.

The move was made during the virtual trustees meeting Thursday.

Jacqui Gore, executive director of advancement at OC, said the Wood Family Foundation donated $5 million to fund the $39.7 million, 83,000-square-foot building.

Cruz Castillo, of JSA Architects, said the building will be east of the administration building and west of Deaderick Auditorium. Castillo said it will be four floors and compliment other structures on campus.

While fundraising for the project is still underway, OC plans to break ground on the new Health Sciences Building in late 2021, followed by 18 months of construction and an estimated opening date of fall 2023.

A news release said the building will be equipped with state-of-the-art simulation technology and additional square footage required to create a collaborative learning environment. The additional space and technology will allow OC to add more programs and to accept more students into the School of Health Sciences and continuing education programs to produce a minimum of 171 more highly skilled, health sciences graduates per semester, up from 269 students. The building will include an additional registered nursing program and licensed vocational nursing program, along with the following specialties to fill the growing number of job openings in the Permian Basin.

Built in 1970, the existing 57,945-square-foot Health Sciences Building was not built with health sciences needs in mind, the release said.

It includes a small simulation laboratory along with small classrooms for nursing, radiological technology, physical therapist assistant, surgical technology, emergency medical technician, phlebotomy, medical assistant and certified nursing aid programs.

While some equipment replacement has taken place in recent years, most areas do not have the latest technology that is currently in use by local hospitals.

When the new Health Sciences Building is complete, OC plans to renovate the existing Health Sciences Building to create designated classrooms and a cafeteria for the growing number of early college high school students on campus.

According to the Perryman Report, cited in the news release:

>> Odessa currently has 2,984 healthcare practitioners. By 2030, Odessa will need 3,817 healthcare practitioners and by 2040, it will need 4,645 healthcare practitioners.

The Permian Basin currently has 8,654 healthcare practitioners. By 2030, the Basin will need 10,773 healthcare practitioners and by 2040, the region will need 12,765 healthcare practitioners.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an urgent need for more healthcare workers in the Permian Basin, the release said.

Increasing the number of health sciences graduates by 171 students or 37 percent per semester, Odessa College will help fill the growing number of health sciences job openings in the Permian Basin, also adding high skill/ high wage jobs to Odessa with the additional faculty needed to train these students, the release said.

OC will add nine more instructors to the School of Health Sciences, at a minimum, with total additional salaries exceeding $600,000 and the average individual salary starting at $73,500.

OC President Gregory Williams said Thursday was a historic night and historic moment. He added that this is another instance of the Wood family stepping up.

Vice President of Instruction Tramaine Anderson gave an update on the remote learning transition plan.

Students in face to face and hybrid courses that do not have an applied learning component are completely online.

Students in applied learning courses that have labs and the early college high school and dual credit programs are on campus. Anderson said they are required to go through the college’s health and safety protocols.

The board also heard reports on approval of welding equipment from WestAir Gas of Odessa for $55,705; Anatomage table and digital library for the health science center for $81,200; and an upgrade of video conferencing equipment for the Zant Room in the Saulsbury Campus Center for $136,793.41.

Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Don Wood who will become the CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association said this would be his last board meeting.

“Thank all of you for the opportunity to be part of the greatest community college in the nation … I’ve loved being here and love all of you,” Wood said.

In Williams’ report, he said the college reached $43,591, including silent auction proceeds for United Way. OC also reached its goal of 99 percent participation.

Williams said 145 holiday baskets were distributed to families for Thanksgiving from the Wrangler Food Pantry.

Professionals from OC and University of Texas Permian Basin will search for a transfer specialist to be housed at both campuses.

The person hired will help students navigate from OC to UTPB and finish their bachelor’s degree.