After 16 months of construction, the School of Nursing celebrated the completion of its new 15,800 square-foot Widmer Wing with a dedication ceremony on Friday.
The Widmer Wing provides nursing students with a learning environment tailored to the special needs of nursing education and practice. The facility includes exam rooms, clinical simulation labs, and a case-study hall that can seat up to 175 people. It is also equipped with high-tech broadcast capabilities, featuring ceiling-mounted pan tilt zoom cameras in eight rooms, enabling students to observe and critique their peers.
President Herbst said the Widmer Wing is a resource the University can take pride in. “Being here, you really get the sense that this is the future of nursing education that will prepare our students for the modern health care work place. “The bottom line,” she added, “is that if the School of Nursing and the University as a whole want to continue to advance, grow, and achieve, we need high quality facilities to do so. And that’s what this is.”
The Widmer Wing is named in honor of Carolyn Ladd Widmer, a pioneer in nursing education and the school’s first dean. It is connected to the 35,000 square-foot Augustus Storrs Hall, home of the nursing school and one of the oldest buildings on campus, and replaces a 4,000 square-foot modular annex for temporary classroom space that was built about 10 years ago.
Speakers at the dedication included Mun Choi, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs; Lawrence McHugh, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Linda Schwartz, Connecticut Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs; Regina Cusson, interim dean of the School of Nursing; Eric and Michael Widmer, sons of Carolyn Ladd Widmer, for whom the building is named; and Kylie Angell, president of the nursing Class of 2013.
Michael Widmer said, “My mother was a formidable woman, rarely at a loss for words. But she would be speechless and thrilled if she were here today to see this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility.”
Regina Cusson, interim dean of the School of Nursing, said the new facility is essential to the school’s pursuit of excellence. “As you approach the Widmer Wing, you realize that these doors are opening the future – not only for thousands of new nurses, but also for many others in the community.
“With this new building,” Cusson continued, “the future of the school is bright, just like Carolyn Ladd Widmer imagined it would be.”
The Widmer Wing was designed by Tai Soo Kim Partners LLC of Hartford. The $14 million project was paid for by the $2.3 billion UConn 2000 infrastructure fund. It is the first building designed specifically for the education of nursing students in more than 20 years.
Immediately following the dedication ceremony, guests toured the building and its simulation labs. The Josephine A. Dolan Collection of Nursing History remains on display in the atrium, with artifacts such as military nurse uniforms, the iron lung exhibit, and many other historical items.
Students and faculty alike are excited about the benefits of having access to advanced simulation facilities.
“The practice we get in simulation lab will translate into comfort in working in actual hospitals,” said Emily Bak ’15 (NUR), a sophomore nursing student. “The Widmer Wing gives us the opportunity to achieve our goals.”
The school invites donations from individuals interested in naming opportunities for various sections of the Widmer Wing. Potential donors can find more information on the School of Nursing’s website.