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Monument health contributes $2 million to new West River Area Health Education Center

Black Hills State University - Rapid City, the site of the new West River Area Health Education...
Black Hills State University - Rapid City, the site of the new West River Area Health Education Center.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 8:16 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The West River Health Education Science Center received a major investment from Monument Health. The Science Center will be an addition to the current Black Hils State University, Rapid City campus, and focused on nursing programs.

Monument Health contributed $2 million to the new center. The total cost of the project is $15 million and will expand the South Dakota State University College of Nursing in Rapid City from 72 students to 120 students. An official at Monument says that this will create a critical pipeline that will help fill the workforce needs, but this is just the beginning of the collaboration between SDSU, Black Hills State University, Monument, and West River Area Health Education Center.

“I’m one that really believes collaboration is always stronger than trying to do it completely by yourself. In this case, it’s critical, because I don’t think any of us could do this by ourselves, it’s bigger than any one of us,” says Laurie Nichols, President of Black Hills State University. “The collaboration is critical to get done what we are trying to achieve.”

The project is just the beginning of health care education in West River South Dakota. The need for nurses will expand even more in the future, so getting kids excited about healthcare is next in the collaboration for Monument Health.

Nicole Kerkenbush, Chief Nursing and Performance Officer at Monument Health said, “This is a great piece of making sure that that happens. I think that we have some other work to do, we’ve got to make sure that our kids in middle school, and elementary school even, are thinking about health care as a profession and I think that the center will also allow space for them.”

Construction for the center will begin in the fall of 2023.

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