New Building Wing Enhances STEM Instruction on Middle Georgia State University’s Warner Robins Campus

Author: Sheron Smith
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 12:00 AM
Category: Pressroom

Warner Robins, GA

If she had to, Emily White of Warner Robins was willing to drive to Middle Georgia State University's Macon Campus to take the chemistry class she needed.

But she wasn't thrilled about it.

"I would have had to leave earlier to get to class and fight the traffic," said the 18-year-old freshman, who plans to major in nursing. "All of my other classes were on the Warner Robins Campus, so I was really glad when this place opened."

"This place" is the Warner Robins Campus's new STEM wing, which opened at the beginning of spring semester 2018. A 16,000 square-foot expansion to Oak Hall, the STEM wing features four state-of-the-art labs, study areas, and a collaborative learning room.

The addition made it possible for Middle Georgia State (MGA) to begin offering a full complement of lab courses, including chemistry and anatomy and physiology, on the Warner Robins Campus. Until now, students in Warner Robins had to commute to the Macon Campus for those classes.

"It's much better for the students, no question about it," said Dr. Ron Williams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who taught chemistry in the new facility this spring. "The classes filled up as soon as we listed them."

The $5 million wing's classrooms and labs support degree programs related to STEM - health and natural sciences, technology, engineering, and math - on the Warner Robins Campus. For the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, the facility features a 20-bed clinical laboratory area and a three- bed simulation/observation area. The simulation/observation area has video and audio capabilities for student instruction involving high-fidelity simulation activities.

Thanks in part to the STEM wing, the University's new student enrollment grew by 21 percent this spring over the same period last year.

"We were able to increase admissions into the BSN due to having the additional space," said Dr. Donna Ingram, chair of nursing department in the School of Health Sciences. "It's a tremendous boost to the program."

The wing is connected to Oak Hall on the south end of the Warner Robins Campus, which is located across from City Hall and within a half mile of Robins Air Force Base.

Besides labs and classrooms, the wing expanded lounge/study space for students. On a recent afternoon, about a dozen nursing majors filled the tables and purple-cushioned chairs in the sun-drenched common areas with their notes, laptops, and lunches spread before them. Many said they found the new wing attractive and comfortable.

"We're here all day, so it's nice to have a place where we can study and take a break," said Brianna Cape of Hawkinsville.

Payton Bray of Wrightsville said he was excited to begin the nursing program the same semester the STEM wing opened.

"Every aspect of it is up to date," he said. "I would have given one hundred percent to the program no matter what, but having the newest labs and equipment available is a bonus."

This article originally appeared in the spring 2018 edition of MGA Today magazine.