Texas A&M University-Texarkana spotlighted its newest facility Thursday, opening the Building for Academic and Student Services on campus to the public.
The BASS opened in January of this year and contains enrollment services; the business office; the Veterans Services Center; classrooms and offices for the College of Business, Engineering, and Technology, and a state-of-the-art nursing wing and hospital simulator for the university's nursing program.
Senior nursing students Alaina Oliver and Amanda Gurrero showed off some the nursing school's state-of-the-art patient simulation manikins, which allow them to get realistic practice doing everything from drawing blood to inserting urinary catheters.
"They incorporate a lot so we can really be ready, and I believe that they've prepared us very well, especially with the newer technology. We're using the same stuff that they're using at CHRISTUS St. Michael's," Gurrero said. "What we learn in here is what we're going to be using there."
Using more high-tech manikins, the hospital simulator replicates care needs for people ranging from a 23-week-old premature infant to a geriatric patient, and students must go through something of a trial by fire there before they can graduate.
"Our seniors, in their last semester they have a simulation where there's eight beds going, and they have to prioritize, somebody having a heart attack, somebody having a stroke, a baby crying," Nursing Director Heather McKnight said.
The building's business, engineering and technology school facilities include tech-enabled classrooms and plenty of spaces where small-group study and collaboration can take place. Many of the walls serve as white boards, and erasable markers are handy.
Alongside the first floor's administrative offices is a Creative Hub available to all the university's students for brainstorming and collaboration. On Thursday, members of the engineering faculty were on hand to demonstrate the space's multiple 3D printers.
The BASS cost $32 million, funded in 2015 through the Texas Legislature. A previously scheduled grand opening was rained out.