Health Sciences students have a new home

HS Study Center
The Health Science Study Center is open to all students on the third floor. Photo by Edgar Galvan / el Don

Students studying to be medical professionals have moved to the $58.8 million three-story Health Sciences Building that opened on Jan. 10.

Programs formerly in Russell Hall now have spacious study centers, new computer labs and simulation labs designed to emulate real-life medical scenarios. Programs housed in the new building include Occupational Therapy Assistant, Occupational Studies, Nursing, Fire Technology, Emergency Medical Technician and Pharmacy Technology. 

Measure Q, which was approved in 2012 by Rancho Santiago Community College district voters, alongside the state provided the necessary funding for the new Health Sciences building. It is the last building to be constructed with the Measure Q bond money.

“I think it’s great. Great technology, most current technology,”  said Ronnie Miano, a pharmacy technology major.

The building includes three floors of classrooms with nooks and rooms to study in. Amongst those study spaces is a room designated specifically for nursing students.

In addition to study areas, students also have access to rooms designed to show real-life medical scenarios to accompany their learning. 

Staged patient rooms allow students to gain real-life experience. Photo by Edgar Galvan / el Don

EMT students have mockups of the back of an ambulance in their classrooms and nursing students have access to patient rooms that are designed to help students improve their bedside manners, allowing them to feel more comfortable in their workspace and their learning. 

If you go into one of our labs here and then walk into a hospital, there’d be almost no difference to the technology that is available,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jeffrey Lamb. 

Russell Hall, named after Herbert O. Russell, director of the college from 1947 to 1949, was built in 1966, making it one of the older buildings on campus. At the time of its construction, the facility was recognized as one of the more advanced buildings in the state. On Aug. 14, 2023, the Rancho Santiago Board of Trustees decided to give Russell Hall a farewell and approve a $2.4 million bid to demolish the building. 

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Miano went on to describe how surprised she was to see how outdated Russell Hall was in comparison to the Health Sciences building. 

“They had material on the walls back from 1980, [but] what happened in the 1980s is not the same thing happening here in the 2020s, right?”  said Miano. “This right here tells a completely different story.”

This is the first semester that medical students can take classes in the new Health Science building. Photo by Edgar Galvan / el Don

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