Since spring 2018, the University of Alaska has been reviewing how to best increase enrollment and graduation rates in the School of Nursing. The university has focused on recruiting and retaining Alaska Native and rural students. Rural Alaska health care delivery is growing, and the need for qualified medical professionals far outpaces the number of nurses graduating from UA programs. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (KuC) in Bethel is uniquely situated adjacent to the largest regional hospital in the state, and its nursing program provides an opportunity for students across the area to receive their nursing credentials. Growth in the nursing program enrollment and graduation rates requires the student cohort to double. The scarcity of space on campus has become the program’s key limiting factor. To meet workforce demand, UAF (via KuC) has partnered with UAA’s College of Health and School of Nursing to strengthen and expand the nursing and allied health programs. To advance this effort, UAF proposes to renovate an existing structure at KuC to serve as the future health sciences facility. Built in 1974, the single-story building is approximately 1,482 square feet. It was upgraded in 2010 to add a covered porch, new exterior stairs, a new roof, windows and exterior siding. The proposed renovation would demolish existing interior walls, finishes and associated infrastructure to create new spaces for the health sciences program, including a classroom, skills lab and simulations lab. The goal of the proposed space layout will be to accommodate a nursing cohort of 16-20 students. The new space will be equipped with finishes, fixtures and equipment comparable to real-life health care settings including new gurney’s, simulation manikins, and medical oxygen systems. The heating, ventilation and electrical infrastructure will also be modified and configured to support modern health care settings and ensure low energy use. UAF’s
Division of Design and Construction (DDC) will lead the project from design through construction and commissioning. DDC is delegated the authority to procure design and construction services on behalf of UAF, utilizing a staff of professional managers and engineers to execute the project. A design contract will be issued at the beginning of the project and the design team will be tasked with creating bid documents that will repurpose the building and create a slate of programmatic spaces. Once bid documents are completed, the DDC will issue a request for bids and award a construction contract to the lowest responsible bidder. DDC will staff the project with construction inspectors to ensure the work is completed satisfactorily, on budget, and on time. Near completion, equipment will be supplied to the site and installed prior to commissioning and occupancy. Throughout the project, DDC’s contracting and fiscal staff will complete any required reports.