There’s still many questions to be answered about the feasibility of reopening the pool at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland in Corner Brook, and one on them involves the plan for the Western Regional School of Nursing.
The nursing school is currently located at Monaghan Hall, adjacent to Western Memorial Regional Hospital. While the students there study towards a bachelor of nursing degree in collaboration with Grenfell, there has been no firm decision to move control of the school from Western Health to the university.
With the building of a new hospital on the horizon, the nursing school will also need a new home.
In March 2017, the Department of Health told The Western Star that there is no dedicated space planned in the new hospital for the nursing school. It will, however, have a number of multi-purpose spaces that can be used to support educational learning and training opportunities, said the department in an email.
Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne was the minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour at the time and said no one should be alarmed about that revelation. He said the intention has been for some time for the school to go Grenfell Campus.
That intention dates back to a 2005 White Paper on post-secondary education and came at a time when discussion centred around revitalization and expansion of Grenfell.
While there’s been no official confirmation, the pool has been tossed around as the location for the nursing school.
Grenfell’s vice-president Jeff Keshen said whether the school will fit there is a question that has yet to be answered.
“The pool is really tricky, and the renovation for what you’d end up spending for it to build floors on and reconfigure, you’re talking almost the cost of a building,” he said last week. “And we don’t even know at the end of the day if it would fit properly with all the classroom space it needs created.”
The pool area is not the only option on the books.
Keshen said Memorial University’s master plan includes a section on the nursing school at Grenfell Campus that says a new building would be needed to facilitate the consolidation and relocation of the school.
That consolidation is also a goal of the nursing schools strategic plan.
He said the university’s plan calls for a new building to be located near the RecPlex.
“That building needs to be revisited in terms of its scope, its size,” said Keshen, who thinks it needs to have a footprint more in line with the size of the school.
With about 50 students in each year of the four-year and two-year progams, Keshen said it doesn’t need a massive space.
“There’s further discussions which have to happen on that to land in a place that makes it doable, appropriate for what the needs of the nursing school are.”
And Keshen said there is still time for that to happen.
“Opportunities will be presenting themselves, I’m sure,” he said.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Multi-Year Infrastructure Plan 2017-2023
8.3.02 Western Regional School of Nursing Consolidation
A new governance model for nursing schools in the province is being considered. Under this model, the Western Regional School of Nursing (WRSON) would consolidate with the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University to form a new School of Nursing (Grenfell). Construction of a new facility will be required to facilitate the consolidation and relocation of the WRSON to the Grenfell Campus. The nursing program is currently located within the Western Regional Hospital which provides administrative space, teaching and clinical areas. In fall 2012, a functional space plan was developed to assess the future needs for nursing, as well as any affiliated program requirements by Grenfell. The mid-range projection for space requirements predicted a facility of approximately 35,966 m2 (118,000 sq. ft.) to support an expanded undergraduate class, masters program, research growth and new outreach opportunities.
This initiative remains at the concept stage (Section 7.2.2 of the 2014-2020 Plan refers).
Strategic Goal 3: Consolidate nursing education, human resources (faculty and staff), administration and infrastructure with Grenfell Campus – Memorial University.
- is to be consolidated within Grenfell Campus, Memorial University to help better serve the needs of nursing education. Consolidation will facilitate attracting, recruiting and retaining qualified faculty, staff and students. Consolidation will enhance opportunities for research, teaching and learning, and community engagement as outlined in Memorial's guiding frameworks.
Edited to clarify per year enrolment