University of West Georgia School of Nursing
The University of West Georgia’s new School of Nursing is a 62,000 gsf flagship facility that fulfills the University’s vision of providing exemplary academics while serving the needs of the campus, community and region. The significant achievement reflected in this nursing school design was endorsed by the Board of Regents via an unsolicited Design and Technology Award.
During the pre-design phase, the team found that additional planning was required for the main instructional spaces related to simulation, a hallmark of the institution’s curriculum. The program was refined to better serve the School of Nursing’s future direction as a regional leader in nursing education, including: distance learning, high-technology simulation suites connected to classrooms throughout, a nursing education theater, a Center for Caring, multi-purpose and student commons, and exterior gardens and event spaces.
Key to the design is its inclusion and successful installation of technologically advanced simulation rooms. These high-fidelity simulation laboratories provide true state-of-the-art learning environments, by closely resembling actual hospital rooms, equipment and even highly advanced simulated patients (mannequins).
Aside from the simulation rooms, the school’s programmed spaces include seminar rooms, large lecture/assembly rooms, general classrooms, conference rooms, faculty administrative offices and support. AV systems are interconnected with all spaces and can broadcast captured simulations to any part of the building.
The initial design and programming refinements also enable the UWG Nursing Program to accommodate anticipated growth and sustain a high caliber program far into the future, while meeting its strategic goals and demand for more nursing graduates.
The physical design reflects themes of health and healing. For example, a monumental interior central stair at the point of arrival connects key academic floor spaces and promotes a healthy option (versus using the elevator) to users. Loud and quiet student spaces are located for their most effective application. A reflection room, garden and labyrinth were included to address holistic wellness. Open and inviting commons areas help to provide oases wherein students can recharge after demanding hands-on and classroom learning.
Designed utilizing the Energy Efficiency Act (O.C.G.A. 50-8-18) act, key sustainable features include exterior window shading devices; daylight strategies for all occupied spaces; large glazed walls for both academic classrooms and circulation areas; energy efficient light fixtures; white roof & high reflectivity paved areas; indigenous/native plant species (drought tolerant) installed that use less irrigation water; irrigation fed from underground storm water sequestration tanks; low flow toilet fixtures, and the use of local materials throughout the project.