March 21, 2023
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A new home for Decker

Health Sciences Building opens on Johnson City campus

A view of the new building housing the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences. A view of the new building housing the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
A view of the new building housing the Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

​The building housing Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the newest addition to Binghamton University’s nearly 15-acre Health Sciences Campus in Johnson City.

“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,” Decker Dean Mario Ortiz says. “Additionally, we now have the capacity to deliver simulation education for outside organizations that require this type of professional training.”

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).

“We are excited to see Decker College move into its new facilities,” University President Harvey Stenger says. “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 Street in Johnson City, near UHS Wilson Medical Center and Ascension Lourdes Hospital.

The Health Sciences Building opened to Decker College faculty, staff and students in February. 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.

About the building

The Health Sciences Building at 48 Corliss Ave. was constructed in 1916 as the Endicott-Johnson Pioneer Annex and was home to shoe and shoe box manufacturing. Binghamton University acquired the 96,000-square-foot facility in early 2015 and completed extensive cleaning before renovations began in March 2019. The inside of the facility was renovated and an addition in the rear of the building was demolished.

A new, 15,000-square-foot addition was constructed, providing Decker College with 112,000 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.

What’s inside?

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

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. A gallery celebrating the building’s history is in the rotunda.

Second floor: 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.

Third floor: 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.

Fourth floor: 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 and language pathology faculty and staff. This floor also has a studio for high-quality recording of online courses and a satellite academic testing center.

Fifth and sixth floors: 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.

About Decker

More than 100 faculty and staff are employed across Decker College, which typically has about 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.

What’s next?

While Decker College is now open and joins the pharmacy school, Binghamton University’s Health Sciences Campus isn’t complete. A Research and Development facility is in the design phase and will be constructed adjacent to the pharmacy school. It is slated to be completed by December 2022. Also in design is the Ford Family Wellness Center for Seniors, a collaboration with Ascension Lourdes Hospital to provide primary healthcare and holistic health and wellness services for older persons. This facility, located nearby at 27 Jenison Ave., is expected to be completed in December 2021.

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