Western Nevada opens new biochemestry, cadaver labs
Thanks to a $1.45 million project funded by the William N. Pennington Foundation, Western Nevada College celebrated the opening of new biochemistry and human cadaver laboratories on Thursday.
The William N. Pennington Biophysical Science Laboratory provides state-of-the-art technology, features a theatre-in-the-round learning environment and serves more students.
A number of educational dignitaries and Carson City executives joined the public in attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new William N. Pennington Biophysical Science Laboratory on Thursday in the Aspen Building on the Carson City campus. Among those in attendance were Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly, acting WNC President Mark Ghan, Higher Education Chief Financial Officer Chester Burton, Higher Education Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges Nate Mackinnon, Harley-Davidson Financial Services Director of Consumer Credit and Risk Management Sean Davison, Northern Nevada Economic Development Executive Director Rob Hooper, architect Paul Cavin and Regent Carol Del Carlo.
Besides providing additional space and state-of-the-art facilities that will enable the college to better serve more students, the new biochemistry and human cadaver laboratories will allow instructors to enhance student participation in class and lab activities, and improve their connection to critical concepts.
“This is an unprecedented grant that is absolutely phenomenal,” said biophysical sciences professor Dr. Steve Carman. “It will allow faculty to demo experiments that are mentioned in lectures in a safe and descriptive manner. The lab redesign makes the lab more modern and more inviting to students — maybe even a little more professional-looking as well.”
The college’s original lab space was more than 25 years old and the cadaver lab was more than 15 years old. Over time, they have developed accessibility, space and functionality challenges.
The renovation has expanded the chemistry lab capacity from 24 to 32 students and aligned them in pods instead of on benches, fostering better interaction between students and an overall improved learning environment. The remodeled lab includes video monitors, providing students with direct, visual access to demonstrations and lectures.
“The teaching style will change from head-of-the class style to focusing and centralizing instruction on and for the students,” Carman said.
The remodeling project has expanded the cadaver lab from two to four cadavers and increased student capacity from 10 to 20. Students use the cadavers for anatomy and physiology courses for pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, pre-respiratory therapy, pre-med technology, pre-X-ray technology and pre-physical therapy instruction.
Western Nevada College Foundation Executive Director Niki Gladys worked with the Pennington Foundation to finalize the grant in mid-November 2016 prior to the Nevada System of Higher Education formally accepted Pennington’s contribution.
“Our community’s ability to prepare students for successful careers in science and health care fields dramatically improves, thanks to the Pennington Foundation gift,” said former Record-Courier Publisher Gladys. “This exciting project will yield a significant return for both the college and the community. As STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) classes continue to increase in importance, Western Nevada College will be able to provide the high-quality learning environment our students and our community deserve.”