New nursing school opens on West Campus

The Yale School of Nursing officially opened its new West Campus facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon.

A crowd of several hundred YSN students, professors and alumni gathered outside the renovated facility, which marks the most recent addition to the rapid growth on West Campus. While nursing students have voiced concerns that the new location will isolate the school from the pulse of main campus, they praised the space as a vast improvement over the former YSN home near the School of Medicine. Though YSN has been in session on West Campus since late August, Friday’s event kicked off a weekend-long dedication and celebration of the school’s 90th anniversary.

“Despite our long program of success and storied history, this is the first time in our 90-year history that the School of Nursing has occupied its own building that was designed and built out to specifically enable us to accomplish our mission,” Dean of the School of Nursing Margaret Grey said in her speech.

Over the last year, the University renovated an existing building on West Campus to serve as the new home for the School of Nursing. The 110,000-square-foot building features state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories. In her speech, Grey highlighted laboratories that allow students to simulate caring for patients in a hospital environment, as well as the University’s second Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classroom.

Two years ago, former University President Richard Levin approached Grey with the idea to improve the school’s facilities. When West Campus offered to host the school as part of a larger effort to populate the new facility, the School of Nursing decided it made more sense to move than to remain at the old space.

“Our former building really didn’t meet the needs for 21st century education — to renovate the old space really would not have ever resulted in what we have in our building on West Campus,” Grey said.

Despite the promise of these improved amenities, some YSN students expressed concern after the University announced that it would isolate the school from main campus and the School of Medicine, where many of their academic and social activities take place.

While shuttles between West Campus and New Haven used to run every hour, they now run every 20 minutes.

“It is, in a sense, inconvenient to be so far away from the rest of the Yale community. But, at the same time, there is a West Campus community developing that is nice to be a part of,” Lisa Spencer YSN ’15 said.

Chelsea Hinchey YSN ’15 said she thought the new facility was a great improvement from the school’s old home, citing enhanced classroom technology and perks like their own cafeteria and fitness center.

Salovey told the crowd on Friday that the school’s new West Campus home is “one of the enviable new spaces on campus.” While some were initially concerned that the school would be isolated from central campus, Salovey said the new home has generated great excitement within the Yale community.

In a surprise announcement, Salovey, whose mother was a nurse, said his family will sponsor a student scholarship at the school.

Yale acquired West Campus from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2007, and Vice President for West Campus Planning & Program Development Scott Strobel said the arrival of the School of Nursing marks a turning point for the facility.

“I am just so happy that, in just a few short years, West Campus has become such an important part of our University,” Salovey said.

On Saturday, YSN held an Alumni Day, which included open tours of the facility and a speaker panel on health-care reform, as well as a banquet to celebrate the School’s 90th anniversary.

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