Governor Hochul and St. John's University Announce Groundbreaking of St. John's University's $106 Million Health Sciences Center

Governor Kathy Hochul and St. John’s University today announced the groundbreaking of St. John’s University’s $106 million Health Sciences Center, a new 70,000 square foot energy-efficient academic building with classrooms, laboratories, simulation facilities, office space, collaborative spaces, and outdoor terraces. The new Health Sciences Center is anticipated to open Fall 2024 and will be the permanent home of the new undergraduate nursing program at St. John’s University. The Health Sciences Center is supported by a $5 million New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grant from the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and a $700,000 Empire State Development grant from Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

“For the last two years, New York’s nurses have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we owe each and every one of them a debt of gratitude,” Governor Hochul said. “This new state of the art Health Sciences Center at St. John’s University will be crucial to educating the next generation of New York’s best and brightest nurses, ensuring they are ready to step up and protect their fellow New Yorkers when they are needed most.”

The Health Sciences Center will house classrooms, state-of-the art simulation suites, and modernized lab space. Simulation education is a key component of healthcare education, which is useful in teaching traditional clinical experiences. St. John’s University will use simulation components to sharpen students’ disciplinary knowledge using acute care patient scenarios.  

During simulation, clinical situations will be replicated in a controlled learning environment using manikins, standardized patients, or by virtual means to allow students to apply knowledge and skills without risking patient safety. The simulation scenarios are designed to encourage students to assess and manage patients, identify, and prioritize patient problems, and perform key interventions for effective patient care in a safe environment. 

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the need for adequate nurse staffing, which is crucial to ensure quality health care access for all New Yorkers. New York State’s investment in St. John’s University’s state-of-the-art Health Science Center reflects our strategic focus on workforce development and highlights New York’s commitment to strengthening our health care system. The New Health Sciences Center will create 21st century jobs by creating a pipeline of nursing staff in the region that will help fulfill a crucial need across the State.” 

The groundbreaking of the Health Sciences Center coincides with International Nurses Day, which highlights the importance of the nursing profession.

When complete, the new facility will enable St. John’s University to train student-nurses with the most innovative training tools and techniques available. Applications for the University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing are now being accepted and preparations are underway for the first cohort of students to begin classes in August. The new undergraduate nursing program is expected to produce approximately 125 nursing graduates per year. 

State Senator Leroy Comrie said, “This groundbreaking is a glorious way to celebrate International Nurses Day, honor St. John’s University’s commitment to our community, and mark this beginning for the countless future nurses who will be expertly trained at this new Health Sciences Center. I am grateful Governor Hochul, and colleagues across government, saw the wisdom of New York’s multi-year investment in making this Health Sciences Center a reality. I look forward to continuing to partner with St. John’s in uplifting education, health, and our shared community.”

Assemblymember David I. Weprin said, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve relied on our hospitals and frontline healthcare workers to support us and sacrifice for our wellbeing. It was my honor to attend this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new Health Sciences Center at St. John’s University. This facility is a critical investment in our healthcare education and community infrastructure. This International Nurses Day, I am proud to stand in support of our current and future healthcare heroes.”

New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Winston Fisher, Partner at Fisher Brothers, and Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY Chancellor, said, “Investing in our workforce is an important priority for the Regional Councils and the pandemic has put a focus on the need to expand the talent pool of skilled nurses. The NYREDC is proud to support the Health Sciences Center at St. John’s University, which will be an important long-term investment in future healthcare workers that will expand our workforce of nurses with good-paying jobs while also growing the State’s economy.” 

President of St. John’s University Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. said, “Nursing is not simply a job or a career, it is a vocation—a true calling to service—the kind of compassionate service that is at the heart of the transformative Catholic and Vincentian mission of a St. John’s education. Today, with a major investment and expanded commitment to the health sciences, St. John’s is helping to answer that call.”

In the enacted Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, Governor Hochul delivered a historic $20 billion multi-year investment to create better working conditions for healthcare workers, with $1.2 billion dedicated to frontline healthcare worker bonuses, and a $4.5 billion investment in payment reform. Other landmark investments include $2.4 billion directed to improving healthcare infrastructure and $3.9 billion in funding to provide aid to hospitals struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year, Governor Hochul announced the “Nurses For Our Future” Scholarship. The scholarship covers tuition for 1,000 new or current healthcare workers to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) at a two-year or four-year New York State public college or university. 

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