Baker College of Muskegon showcases new health care facility


The new Health Science Center on the Muskegon campus of Baker College will host an open house on Wednesday. Courtesy Baker College

Baker College of Muskegon is celebrating the completion of a new $8-million building, which is a “destination” training facility for individuals pursuing the health sciences.

The independent college, located at 1903 Marquette Ave., recently announced its new 35,000-square-foot Health Science Center will host a community open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 24, from 5-6:30 p.m.

Members of the community will have a chance to view the entire wing and multiple laboratories throughout the two-story facility. Participants joining college officials at the event will include: Stephen Gawron, mayor of Muskegon; Goeff Hansen, state senator; and Marcia Hovey-Wright, state representative.

Although classes at Baker College don’t start until Sept. 29, students will have a chance to view the building Sept. 22 before some of them participate in student demonstrations at the open house.

President Lee Coggin said the college is very pleased with the new Health Science Center, which was built to address student training needs and the growth in student enrollment in the health science programs.

“We needed to upgrade our facilities to keep pace with all the very dynamic career fields, like the medical field, and we knew we needed more space, we knew we needed to upgrade some of our equipment,” said Coggin. “We are going from roughly 18,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet, so we are very pleased with the upgrades.”

The new center includes 20,000 square feet of dedicated laboratory space replicating medical settings to provide training opportunities for students to practice their skills, according to the release. Medical settings include: a physician’s office, a hospital operating room, a hospital-based pharmacy, a mock apartment, and a patient care room for therapeutic massage programs.

“We now have an up-to-date mock operating room for our surgical tech program; we have a mock apartment and training facility for our physical therapy assistant program; we have a 14-bed patient care room for our therapeutic massage program; and we now have two full labs for our nursing program that look like a hospital floor wing,” said Coggin. “It is very important because this fall we are offering a bachelor of science and nursing for the first time.”

With the past success of 100 percent pass rates in licensure exams for physical therapy assistant students, radiologic technology students and veterinarian technology students, Coggin said in many ways the new building is catching up to the excellence students have brought to their career fields.

“The students have really performed in outstanding ways over the years,” said Coggin. “Our vet techs, who will be using the building for some of their chemistry and biology labs, have an 11-year, 100 percent pass rate.”

The privately funded facility will house lab work and training aspects of the multiple health science programs at Baker College, including nursing, occupational therapy assistant, pharmacy technician, physical therapy assistant, medical assistant, radiologic technology and surgical technology.

Designed by BMA Architects and built by Clifford Buck Construction Co., Coggin said it was gratifying to partner with the two local Muskegon companies.

“We believe in this community. It is great to be able to offer this kind of high quality facility to individuals along the lakeshore who want to go into the medical field, and that is really what we want this to be — a destination point for training,” said Coggin. “We are very excited about the opportunities that it is going to present.”

The new building also has potential to be used for continuing education workshops for health-care professionals, such as medical assistants, while former health science classrooms at Baker College of Muskegon are expected to be renovated for use by other educational programs.

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