CHI Health St. Francis and Grand Island Public Schools are one step closer to achieving their vision of a $5.92 million academy at the hospital, thanks to a donation from JBS Grand Island.
At a ceremony Wednesday at St. Francis, JBS presented $500,000 to the hospital for the new Academy of Medical Sciences. The project, which was announced last week, will transform the eighth floor of the hospital tower into a 20,522-square-foot learning lab of the future. The project, funded solely through business and private donations, will provide juniors and seniors training and exposure to a variety of health care careers.
The academy will include two large simulation pathway labs, four additional labs, two classrooms, several smaller break-out rooms and a large learning lab and lobby for gathering.
While at the hospital, students will simulate bedside care using electronic patient mannequins, work through emergency care protocols in an ambulance, learn how physical therapists assess sports injuries and repair high-tech medical equipment.
‘A lasting impact’
Zack Ireland, JBS Grand Island plant manager, said the $500,000 donation was made as part of the food processing company’s Hometown Strong Initiative, designed to strengthen communities in which JBS employees live and work by making “meaningful investments” in community projects.
“We are focused on making meaningful investments in community projects, such as the Academy of Medical Sciences,” Ireland said. “It will have a lasting impact for generations to come. Our hope for this project is that local students will have access to learning opportunities that they have never had before. We look forward to seeing the new learning lab at full operation.”
Ireland said JBS recognizes the “opportunity and responsibility” of being a large business and employer in Grand Island and is “excited” to be a partner on a project with the hospital and school district that “shares our mission to build better futures for all.”
District, hospital grateful
GIPS Superintendent Tawana Grover said the district is “thrilled” the GISH Academy of Medical Sciences is one step closer to becoming a reality and thanked JBS for its donation.
“Students receiving real-world training at an advanced medical center side-by-side with expert clinicians on a dedicated floor configured to complement our current pathway, is more than we could ever imagine,” Grover said. “The generous gift from JBS will make a huge impact on the lives and futures of our students.”
She said that in honor of the JBS gift, the district will name one of the gathering spaces “The JBS Learning Lab and Lobby.”
St. Francis President Ed Hannon said the donation from JBS moves the academy project forward. He called the project and the partnerships it has brought “tremendous.”
Hannon said the labs, learning spaces and opportunities for students to work with faculty members, collaborating with St. Francis providers and employees, will prepare students for a career in the medical field and for life after high school.
Grover said that, thanks to the community and business partnerships, students in the Academy of Medical Sciences will have the opportunity to understand more about high-skilled, high-wage and high-demand jobs to be college, career and community ready.
“Through the experts here at CHI Health, our students get a little bit more,” she said. “We know that positive adults are critical to the future of our students. These experts also will become mentors to our students where they will be able to share about their personal journey, more about the medical field and how it will tap into the interests and passions of our students.”