A $500,000 donation by Catholic Healthcare West and UnitedHealthcare will help cover a shortfall in funding for the expansion of Chandler-Gilbert Community College’s nursing program.
Each party will donate $250,000 to help pay for the construction of a new healthcare/general education building on the campus, located on the southeast corner of Power and Ray roads near Williams Gateway Airport.
“This gracious gift ... will enable us to have enough classroom and lab space to significantly increase the size of our nursing program,” said Dr. Maria Hesse, the college’s president.
Construction on the building, to be called Engel Hall, is expected to start this fall with completion in fall 2008.
“The project budget was $10.84 million and we were just short $1.5 million because of inflation in construction costs,” said Trish Niemann, college spokeswoman.
“So this donation is really going to help us reach the goal and not cut back on the size of the building, which we didn’t want to have to do because we want to be able to expand our nursing program because of the extreme shortage of nurses.”
The new building will include four specialized labs for nursing and life sciences, six classrooms, two lecture classrooms, and 17 faculty offices and support spaces.
“Right now, each semester a group of 30 students starts because of the limited space they’re in,” Niemann said. “We’ll definitely be able to increase it well beyond the 30 that are starting.”
The first group of 30 students graduated this month from the two-year program. The campus added the nursing program two years ago.
“Catholic Healthcare West recognizes that a desperate need exists in our community to support the growth in health care education,” said David Covert, president of Catholic Healthcare West’s East Valley service area and CEO of Chandler Regional Hospital.
Catholic Healthcare West operates Chandler Regional Hospital and Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, urgent care centers in Ahwatukee Foothills, Gilbert and Queen Creek, and a diagnostic and treatment center in Sun Lakes.
“UnitedHealthcare is committed to improving access to quality health care in Arizona and that starts with ensuring we have qualified nurses and other health care workers,” said Benton Davis, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona.”
UnitedHealthcare provides consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services, and contracts directly with more than 537,000 physicians and care professionals, and more than 4,700 hospitals nationwide. Chandler-Gilbert Community College is one of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges.