UTICA – Empire State Development announced Thursday the completion of Utica College’s new $ 12.5 million Gordon Science Center annex, a 23,300 square foot building that houses laboratories and teaching spaces at the cutting edge of technology.

“It is fitting that this new science center, made possible with support from Empire State Development, opened its doors the same year we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Utica College,” said Dr Laura M. Casamento, president of Utica College.

“There is no better way to represent how far we have come,” added Casamento. “In the late 1940s, it’s unlikely that even the most forward-thinking student could have imagined a campus like this, with its cutting-edge tools and technology, and the limitless opportunities it offers.

“Today, in these classrooms and laboratories, students have the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge for careers in science and medicine, as well as the power to make discoveries that are transforming our world,” said she declared.

The Gordon Science Center Annex is located on the main campus of Utica College. The Center and Annex are linked to Br Eugene Romano Hall, the academic building which houses the classrooms and laboratories for the higher level health professions courses.

By co-locating adjacent to existing science and paramedic buildings, the Gordon Science Center annex will become the on-campus hub of Utica College’s life and physical sciences and healthcare programs. The new teaching labs include spaces for genetics and molecular biology, cell biology and biochemistry, animal physiology and animal behavior, and human anatomy and physiology. The annex also has a computer lab and GIS classroom, as well as an active learning classroom space to integrate a lecture and physics lab and other science courses for non -majors. Other spaces include a new vivarium with two intervention rooms, four air-conditioned accommodation rooms, a microscopy room, a clean molecular laboratory, a cell culture laboratory, as well as other flexible laboratory spaces for research between teachers and students.

The annex will support the College’s allied health professions programs, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and nursing, which are among the College’s most popular courses.

The project was supported by a $ 1 million grant from Empire State Development, which will advance regional workforce development strategies by establishing a pipeline of well-trained professionals for the healthcare industries. required.

“When we invest in our workforce, especially in industries that are in high demand across the state and country, we create economic prosperity for communities by providing a pool of skilled workers that attract residents and businesses. in the region, ”Empire State Development said. Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis. “The Gordon Science Center Annex at Utica College will provide the resources and training necessary to develop our healthcare workforce in the Mohawk Valley, paving the way for continued growth and success in the region. . “

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates there will be a shortage of 1.13 million nurses nationwide by 2024 and an estimated shortage of 26,560 physical therapists nationwide by 2027 In addition, the BLS estimates that occupational therapist jobs will increase by 33.6% by 2024. All three professions have high turnover: between 17 and 19% for nurses, 16% for physiotherapists and nearly 35% for occupational therapists.

The new Mohawk Valley Health System Regional Medical Center (MVHS), currently under construction, will be over 700,000 square feet with nearly 400 patient beds and will provide extensive health care services in many areas. their current service lines. Two of the most important needs of MVHS will be for qualified nurses and physiotherapists, resulting in an even higher demand for these specialties.

“I am delighted that the Gordon College Science Annex in Utica is training the next generation of skilled healthcare workers in the Mohawk Valley,” said State Senator Joseph A. Griffo. “We have seen a strong demand for nurses and other health care professionals since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the future will keep the Mohawk Valley well positioned for growth.”

MP Marianne Buttenschon said: “The expansion of this annex is crucial to meet the needs of our future medical fields. Creating an academic and clinical experience for students offers a cutting edge learning approach. I would like to thank ESD and the management of Utica College for their innovative and resourceful approach to meeting our needs. “

“The need for health professionals in Oneida County and across the country has never been greater,” said Anthony J. Picente Jr., Director of Oneida County. “This has been made even more evident by the COVID-19 pandemic and the certainty that we will face similar crises in the future. With the huge upgrade we are currently undergoing in healthcare in our region in the form of MVHS’s new Wynn Hospital, this vital new training pipeline at Utica College couldn’t come at a better time. The Gordon Science Center Annex will prove to be an asset to this region for years to come, and I thank everyone involved for bringing it to fruition.

The mayor of the city of Utica, Robert Palmieri, said, “Utica College is a tremendous asset to our community and the completion of the new Gordon Science Center annex will provide state-of-the-art labs and teaching spaces to support the comprehensive programs at Utica College. This project would not have been possible without the collaborative partnerships and investment of Empire State Development (ESD). I thank ESD for its continued support for substantial and transformational projects in the city of Utica.

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