SCSU opens new building for healthcare students, community

NEW HAVEN — Southern Connecticut State University officially opened its new Health and Human Services building, exposing healthcare students to a hospital-like environment while increasing capacity for community customers.

Spokeswoman Victoria Verderame said the difference of about $20 million was due to additional funding for “an addition linked to the adjacent Fur High School, as well as soft costs such as architectural and engineering fees.”

The new building features open study spaces, a 120-seat auditorium, high-tech classrooms, an athletic training lab, a fully furnished shared housing simulation facility, faculty offices, and facilities that serve at-risk populations in southern Connecticut such as speech clinics, therapy rooms, and a human performance lab.

Dan Ybanez, a nursing student, said the doll he used in class can talk and make sounds associated with pain. He said: “To be transparent, I jumped when the mannequin showed these characteristics.”

The newest building is also special because it stands next to SCSU’s first building, which was built in 1951, the Pelz High School.

“It connects our past to our future in a way that’s important when we’re talking about the legacy, when we’re talking about where Southern has been and where we’re going,” Bertolino said at a ribbon-cutting event on Friday of faculty and students attended and graduates.

The SCSU expansion comes as Connecticut and the nation face “critical bottlenecks” in many areas of the healthcare industry, Bertolino said, noting that an increase in enrollment in such areas is now expected.

Lt. gov. Susan Bysiewicz said the building could not have come at a better time as the state and students continue to navigate the “new normal.” She said, “Investing in Southern makes a great condition.”

“We know that our state needs more medical professionals right now, especially in the mental health field,” Bysiewicz said, hoping SCSU students will stay in the state after graduation.

SCSU Center for Communication Disorders


Chatwan Mongkol/Hearst Connecticut Media
Community Apartment Simulation allows an instructor to play the role of a patient for students to learn.

Community Apartment Simulation allows an instructor to play the role of a patient for students to learn.


Chatwan Mongkol/Hearst Connecticut Media
Human Performance Laboratory

Human Performance Laboratory


Chatwan Mongkol/Hearst Connecticut Media
A therapy room

A therapy room


Chatwan Mongkol/Hearst Connecticut Media


Interiors of the new Health and Welfare Building/Chatwan Mongkol

Jordan Wilson, a nursing student who also led a building tour, said she’s excited about clinical and laboratory spaces that could give her hands-on experiences, such as B. practicing injections and working with the mannequins.

Parts of the new building will be made accessible to the public. The university’s Communication Disorders Center has served around 150 clients from the community weekly, but the new building will allow more clients to receive services at the same time.

Melody Lehrman, a Stratford resident and a Down Syndrome advocate, said her 12-year-old daughter Amber has been going to SCSU’s speech clinic since she was a child.

Lehrman said her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. After feeling defeated for seeing various speech therapists and being underinsured, she found out about the SCSU program.

“Each session is always tailored to my daughter’s interests,” said Lehrman, who usually sits watching her daughter through a one-way mirror.

Students who participated in the program adapted to the needs of Lehrman’s daughter, e.g. B. by holding up her hair because the daughter likes to play with hair and not wearing necklaces because it could be a distraction, she said.

Lehrman said her daughter has gained confidence over the years. Now Amber can introduce herself on stage with a microphone and read raffles and fundraisers, she said.

The new health and social building was part of SCSU’s larger construction and renovation project. A 64,000-square-foot construction for a new $52 million business school is underway and is expected to be completed next spring.

SCSU plans to renovate its Lyman Center for the Performing Arts, Earl Hall and Moore Field House with $6.8 million, according to a capital application submitted to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.

The university also hopes to construct a new, one-story, 10,000-square-foot campus police facility on Wintergreen Avenue in fiscal 2026 at an estimated project cost of $9 million, according to the CSCU’s capital budget proposal.

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