Alvernia unveils newly opened School of Nursing

New 55,000-square-foot facility boasts simulation center and expanded lab space.

Alvernia University celebrated the grand opening of the John and Karen Arnold School of Nursing and the state-of-the-art, interprofessional Healthcare Simulation Center Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the John R. Post Center at Reading CollegeTowne.

“An accomplishment like this can only be achieved through incredible teamwork,” said Alvernia University President Glynis A. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. “We extend our gratitude to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Berks County representatives and members of the Alvernia community who were essential in gathering the support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Funding, Community Project Funding, the American Rescue Plan Act and the largest trustee gift in the university’s history. Together, public and philanthropic support made this $20 million Phase Two renovation possible right here on Penn Street in Reading.”

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The new 55,000-square-foot space has expanded classrooms and laboratories dedicated to interprofessional training, fundamentals skills, health assessment, standardized patient simulations and a specialized resuscitation quality intervention area. Faculty and lab coordinators offices, dedicated meeting areas and conference rooms are also incorporated throughout the space.

“The state-of-the-art Healthcare Simulation Center offers a wide range of benefits including safety, realism, repetition, reflection, feedback, and the development of critical skills,” said Alvernia University Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Patricia Reger, Ph.D. “It will play a critical role in preparing our students for the complexities of clinical practice and contributing to the overall quality of healthcare education.”

These cutting-edge facilities, paired with the new partnership with Berks Community Health Center to develop a comprehensive community clinic at the former American House, will elevate Alvernia’s health science programs, expand student experiential learning opportunities and address the need for health care professionals in the City of Reading and Berks County.

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“The John and Karen Arnold School of Nursing is an investment in Berks County’s healthcare system and the future healthcare heroes who walk through its doors,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Judy Schwank. “Locally and throughout the Commonwealth, we need highly trained healthcare professionals ready to tackle whatever challenges are thrown at them. It took a team effort to get this project to this point, and I’m very proud to see Reading CollegeTowne celebrate another major accomplishment.”

The nationally recognized accredited undergraduate and graduate nursing degree programs as well as the renowned occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician associate programs prepare aspiring health care professionals to enter the field fully equipped to deliver skilled and compassionate healthcare across a wide range of settings from community health centers and hospitals to schools and nursing homes, as well as in emergency and disaster relief scenarios.

“I am thrilled for Alvernia University and the opening of the John and Karen Arnold School of Nursing,” said Pennsylvania State Representative, Manny Guzman. “Funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) has been critical to moving this project forward and my team and I are honored to have made a difference. Your commitment to excellence in nursing education will empower the next generation of compassionate and skilled healthcare professionals in Berks County.”

This project commenced as a part of the second phase of the Reading CollegeTowne initiative in Dec. 2022 following the university’s largest philanthropic gift by a trustee in its 64-year history from business leaders and philanthropists John and Karen Arnold.

“Karen and I are honored and proud to support the Alvernia Nursing program,” said Alvernia University Trustee and Donor, John Arnold. “This new facility provides the School of Nursing with a best-in-class facility that will attract more students to Alvernia, which in turn will graduate more nurses to ensure our friends and neighbors receive the essential health care services they deserve.”

This project was supported by financial assistance provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Honorable Josh Shapiro, Governor, funded in part from the County of Berks, in part through a grant from the City of Reading and the American Rescue Plan, and supported by a federal grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education in the amount of $2,000,000.00.

Federal funds support 25% of the project costs; $6,500,000.00 of project costs (33%) will be supported by non-governmental sources.

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