The beginning of something new. The end of something familiar. It’s a new era on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
Alongside the recently built Niko Hall, the Nursing and Engineering Complex (NEC) is one of the new revitalized buildings opened this fall.
The NEC is home to the college of nursing and the school of engineering, holding some of the online and counseling services.
Last spring, President Wilson announced the purchase of the building and the beginning stages of renovation.
Much thought and planning have gone into this project such as offering shuttles to students who might not have cars or want to walk.
“All of the students seem to enjoy the shuttle; however, it was stressful the first week,” said the shuttle driver, Tobias Moreland. “Both sides don’t start or end at the same time, which can cause problems for the students.”
The professors are still trying to work out the kinks between the Nursing and Engineering schedules.
When talking to students taking classes in the NEC, many were excited along with some that were disgruntled about the move. Yet their concerns quickly vanished when they saw the new equipment and space each department was given.
“The NEC is set up super nice in the sense of having ample space for everyone, and the sim labs allow for so much more practice space and accounts for more students,” said Megan Edalgo, a junior nursing major.
The nursing department updated three of their mannequins, gained dedicated nursing space for specific classes, increased mobility in their chairs and tables—allowing them the flexibility for small groups—upgraded technology, increased space, updated simulation labs and a plethora of other benefits. Dean Prentice, associate professor in the nursing department, called it God’s timing.
“We have a concept-based curriculum that prepares the students for the real world. It is now a tool in our toolbox,” said Prentice.
Dr. John Matson from the engineering department believes this is a new era for the school of engineering.
“With our more extensive facilities, the possibility for growth is endless and we are thankful to President Wilson and everyone involved,” said Matson.
The school of engineering has also upgraded to a 3D lab three times larger, a separate machine shop, collaborative classrooms, seven labs and a remodeling of appliances and equipment. The department has already seen growth over the past ten years and are expecting more growth with the new space and upgraded academia. They are looking into a masters program for natural continuation and are currently working toward their biomedical engineering school.
“There is a great job market, and our goal is to prepare the students for the real world. I believe we will be able to do that with this new space,” said Matson.
Counseling services and the online department have also moved their offices to the NEC.
Nathan Carson, the executive director for the online department, said that they finally have a home and is thankful for the opportunity to move and expand.
Along with nursing, engineering, online and counseling services occupying the NEC, a new café has opened its doors. The Uttermost Grounds is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The name, Uttermost Grounds, was presented by three students – Donald Keating III, Kimmie Simon and Natalie Seale.
The name competition started last semester in April on ORU’s main social media accounts with several hundred entries. It lasted two weeks with other hilarious name options such as “Shadrach Meeshach and A-Bean-to-Go” and “He Brews.” Uttermost Grounds took the gold and the $250 Eagle Bucks prize was divided between the three winners.
Moving to the new building was challenging for everyone involved but created a sense of community.
“We had alumni, IT and operations help unpack and clean. It was a Herculean effort, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped, especially Tim Philley and his team,” stated Prentice.
Classes have started, and the building is fully operating. While it is open to all students, there will be an official open house on Sept. 27.
Photos by James Adamski/Oracle