September 18, 2021

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Binghamton University opens new Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences building in Johnson City

The Health Sciences Building on Binghamton University's Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City is the sixth home the nursing school has had since its inception in 1969. The Health Sciences Building on Binghamton University's Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City is the sixth home the nursing school has had since its inception in 1969.
The Health Sciences Building on Binghamton University's Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City is the sixth home the nursing school has had since its inception in 1969. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

Binghamton University’s Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences officially opened on the University’s nearly 15-acre Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City this spring. A grand opening event will be held later in the year, when it is safe to do so.

Decker College comprises the Decker School of Nursing (founded in 1969), as well as the School of Rehabilitation Sciences and the School of Applied Health Sciences (both established in 2019).

“The opening of the Health Sciences Building is the culmination of a tremendous amount of planning and hard work, and I want to thank everyone involved,” said Decker Dean Mario Ortiz. “The Health Sciences Building not only gives us the space we need to continue developing additional academic programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and health sciences, but also enables us to increase our simulation and practice experiences for students. Additionally, we now have the capacity to deliver simulation education for outside organizations that require this type of professional training.”

“We are excited to see Decker College move into its new facilities,” said University President Harvey Stenger. “The growth of the college and the addition of new academic programs is generating recognition and visibility for both the college and the Health Sciences Campus. And while the educational and research work of Decker College is paramount, it is also exciting that the students and faculty who learn and work at the new building will be adding to the vitality of the Johnson City community.”

The Health Sciences Campus is also home to the University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which opened in 2018. The campus is located a block from Main St. in Johnson City, in close proximity to UHS Wilson Medical Center and Ascension Lourdes Hospital.

“It is remarkable to have all these healthcare professionals on the same campus, collaborating to improve healthcare within the region,” added Donald Nieman, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “This new facility gives Decker College the space required to expand into physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, so we can help fill the area’s need for allied health professionals.”

The spring 2021 semester (Feb. 11-May 18) is the first semester the newly renovated facility is in use by Decker College faculty, staff and students. And, while most didactic nursing courses are online this spring due to the pandemic, simulation activities are taking place in the new facility following social distancing, density reduction and sanitization protocols.

A look at the building

The Health Sciences Building at 48 Corliss Ave. was constructed in 1916 as the Endicott Johnson Shoe Corp. Pioneer Annex and was home to shoe and shoe box manufacturing. Binghamton University acquired the 93,000-square-foot facility in early 2015 and completed extensive cleaning before renovations began in March 2019.

The inside of the facility was completely renovated and an addition in the rear of the building was demolished. A new, 20,000-square-foot addition was constructed, providing Decker College with 113,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classroom, clinical laboratory and research space, including a leading-edge simulation and healthcare learning lab.

The nearly $50 million project has been funded with a combination of Upstate Revitalization funds, SUNY capital project money and some campus dollars.

Here’s a look at what is located throughout the six-story building:

Floor 1 (ground floor): Decker’s Division of Advising and Academic Excellence is located on the first floor. There are also a food court, lounge, information commons, library, help desk, spaces for group and individual study, reflection and lactation rooms, student organization offices, conference rooms and a large multipurpose room with a kitchen. The multipurpose room can be separated into two classrooms or used as event space. In the coming weeks, a gallery celebrating the building’s history will be installed in the rotunda.

Floor 2: Decker’s Innovative Simulation and Practice Center (ISPC) occupies the second floor, measuring a little over 13,000 square feet. Accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, the center has three flexible, hospital-based simulation rooms including a nurse’s station with medication dispensing area; a home care suite to represent a home- or long-term care situation; a life skills room with a kitchen and laundry area; eight innovative instruction rooms set up as exam rooms; an 18-bed teaching lab with a classroom space in the center; a nursing skills teaching lab; and an open practice lab. Highlights of the simulation center include the nurse’s station and call bell system, which increase the realism of the simulations; the ability to observe in real time and record activities in all the simulation and innovative instruction rooms; and advanced technology to project instructors’ demonstrations onto large screens for easy viewing.

Floor 3: The third floor is home to classrooms, conference rooms and offices, including office space for the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, clinical placement and adjunct faculty members.

Floor 4: The dean’s suite and the Kresge Center for Nursing Research are located on the fourth floor. There are also offices for the Decker Endowed Chair in Rural Health, the Decker Endowed Chair for Community Health and the O’Connor Office of Rural Health. In addition, there are conference rooms and offices for nursing, public health, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology faculty and staff. This floor also has a studio for high-quality recording of online courses and a satellite academic testing center.

Floors 5 and 6: Floors five and six are still being renovated. When finished, these floors will house the physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology classrooms, offices, simulation facilities and laboratories. In addition, SUNY Upstate Medical University will have space on the fifth floor for its clinical campus, which brings third- and fourth-year medical residents to the area for their clinical rotations.

While most divisions within Decker College have relocated to the Health Sciences Building, Decker’s Division of Health and Wellness Studies remains in the West Gym on the Vestal campus. In addition, the Division of Advising and Academic Excellence will retain an office in Academic Building B to provide advising services for students.

A look at Decker College

Just over 90 faculty and staff are employed across Decker College, which typically has approximately 750 students (undergraduate and graduate). There are more than 6,000 Decker College alumni across the world, many of whom are serving their communities as leading clinicians, researchers, educators and administrators.

Decker College offers the following programs:

Undergraduate degree program

  • Nursing BS (bachelor of science)

Undergraduate minors

  • Forensic health
  • Health and wellness studies
  • Speech-language pathology (starting fall 2021)

Graduate degree programs

  • Adult-gerontological primary care nursing MS (master of science) and DNP (doctor of nursing practice)
  • Family health nursing MS and DNP
  • Community health primary care nursing (family nursing with a community health emphasis) MS and DNP
  • Family psychiatric mental health nursing MS and DNP
  • Nursing PhD (doctor of philosophy)
  • Public health MPH (master of public health)

Graduate certificate programs

  • Disaster management
  • Forensic health
  • Nursing education
  • Nurse practitioner certificate in adult-gerontological primary care nursing
  • Nurse practitioner certificate in family health nursing
  • Nurse practitioner certificate in community health primary care nursing (family health with a community health emphasis)
  • Nurse practitioner certificate in family psychiatric mental health nursing

Decker College is developing programs that, if approved, would lead to a:

  • Doctor of physical therapy (DPT) degree
  • Doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) entry-level professional degree
  • Doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) post-professional degree
  • Master of science degree in speech-language pathology

All the proposed programs are in various stages of review on Binghamton’s campus or with the State University of New York or the New York State Education Department.