Millikin University students explore the newly opened Health Sciences Center

Construction on the School of Nursing’s Campbell Family Nursing Simulation Center is also complete.

Nursing Students

DECATUR, Ill. – Millikin University’s School of Nursing students have a new home during the Spring 2024 semester as construction on the Health Sciences Center and Health Sciences West is complete.

“Overall, the construction process was good. It was interesting to watch as everything evolved,” Millikin Interim Director of Nursing Dr. Teresa Gulley said. “We wanted to get in for the students to start the spring semester. It was a little tight then, but we were able to get the students in for classes and get ourselves settled in.”

Nursing Students
Millikin Nursing students practice their skills at starting an IV. 

The Health Sciences Center, formerly West Towne Square, houses the Millikin School of Nursing, School of Exercise Science and Sport, and Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre.

The School of Nursing moved to the new facility over winter break, leaving their previous home in the Leighty-Tabor Science Center. Nursing classes will take place at both the Health Sciences Center and Health Sciences West, located just across Oakwood Avenue. 

“The School of Nursing has three spaces. The Health Sciences Center's first floor is our simulation area. Then we have Health Sciences Center on the second floor, across from Exercise and Science and Sport, and that is our administration office,” Gulley said. "Across the street, what used to be the Millikin Institute is now Health Sciences West. We have three classrooms over there, as well as office spaces and a conference room." 

Teresa Gulley
Millikin Interim Director of Nursing Dr. Teresa Gulley tours a new classroom in the Health Sciences Center.

Four state-of-the-art simulation rooms are the centerpieces of the Campbell Family Nursing Simulation Center. The rooms mimic a doctor's office, obstetrics/pediatrics, and hospital room settings. Control rooms with two-way mirrors allow instructors to monitor the simulation rooms and control what happens to the “patients," which are high-tech "simulator” mannequins. 

"There are two big goals with simulation. One is learning some basic skills and thought processes before getting to real patients. You want to have that opportunity in a safe environment to learn and use your skills," Gulley said. “The second one is there are high-risk, very intense scenarios that you may not get exposed to. We call them high-risk, low-volume scenarios. Those are excellent to do in this type of environment." 

As the students have been able to explore the new facilities, they love the new opportunities the Health Sciences Centers provide. 

Health Assessment Lab
The new Health Assessment Lab in Millikin's Health Sciences Center.

Sophomore Nursing major Alanna Hayes has classes in the expanded Health Assessment Lab, where students can practice skills like drawing blood and starting IVs. The lab also features several hospital beds donated by HSHS St. Mary’s. 

“It's honestly great. All last semester, we talked about moving over here and how nice it would be. We have more equipment, more space, and it's just nicer in general," Hayes said.

Nursing Students
Millikin Nursing student Brittney Spalding (left) practices her blood draw skills. 

Sophomore Nursing major Brittney Spalding already works in medicine as a surgery tech at Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal. She transferred to Millikin from Richland Community College to expand her skills.

"The new space is amazing, and there is a lot of room for growth,” Spalding said. "I’ve loved everything about my experience here. Everyone has been so welcoming, and the new facility is great."

Millikin will celebrate the opening of the Health Sciences Center with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Wednesday, May 8, with complete details to be announced soon. 

“We are so excited to be in a new space that highlights all of the awesome skills and lessons we're able to teach to get the best experiences for our students," Gulley said. “The Health Sciences Center is the new home for Nursing. It is exciting to be together in the same spot and have a place that feels like our area. 

“In May, we will have everything completely done with all the bells and whistles, so it'll be a great time to show it off. It will be better weather than in January and a great time to share what we have built.”