“This is a great day,” said R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo at the Nov. 29th ribbon cutting of South Street Landing. Originally built in the early 1900s to provide electrical power to the city, South Street Station was shut down in 1995 and sat dormant for two decades. Its $220 million redevelopment, said the governor, is representative of Rhode Island’s commitment to and investment in economic development.
The ribbon cutting also marked the official opening of the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center (RI NEC), a shared Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island complex within South Street Landing designed to foster collaboration.
Chairman of the Council on Postsecondary Education Bill Foulkes opened the ribbon cutting, stating, “The future potential of this building exists in the collaboration between three great higher education institutions – Brown University, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island.”
The governor also emphasized the heights scaled when public and private entities collaborate. This was underlined in the remarks of dignitaries: Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, Sen. Joshua Miller, Providence City Council President Sabina Matos, Rhode Island College President Frank Sánchez, University of Rhode Island President David Dooley and Brown University President Christina Paxson.
“A lot of people talk about the great things that can happen when people come together – we’re doing it,” stated Raimondo, citing the roster of public and private partners who made South Street Landing and the NEC possible – “public universities, private universities, private investors, philanthropists, legislators and the federal and state government.”
From left, R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo, University of Rhode Island President David Dooley, Rhode Island College President Frank Sánchez, Brown University President Christina Paxson and Chairman of the Council on Postsecondary Education Bill Foulkes.
Principally developed by Connecticut-based real estate developer CV Properties, LLC, and Baltimore-based Wexford Science & Technology, South Street Landing, a massive, multiuse building, includes multiple meeting and breakout spaces, from “huddle” rooms, where small groups of three or four can confer, to flexible conference areas that can accommodate large gatherings and catered events.
The RI NEC occupies the first three floors of South Street Landing and consists of RIC and URI nursing programs, while the top three floors are administrative spaces to accommodate more than 400 staff members from 11 departments at Brown University.
Sánchez noted that “the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center, housed in this magnificent building, provides a world-class facility for our excellent nursing program to continue to advance and support innovative classroom and clinical teaching for future nurses and other health-care professionals.”
RIC nursing students, Dean of the School of Nursing Jane Williams and RIC President Frank Sánchez
Offering state-of-the-art technology, the Simulation Center on the first floor consists of 11 simulation labs, observation rooms and debriefing rooms. The second floor is made up of skills labs and faculty offices. The third floor contains classrooms; a massive lecture hall; multiple lounges; and smaller rooms for group study, small study and quiet study. Classes have been underway since September 2017.
NEC Simulation Labs are equipped with the same medical equipment you’d find in an emergency room along with mannequins that have pulses and are able to breathe, blink and speak.
Sanchez stated, “The NEC will stimulate interprofessional education for all health professionals studying in Rhode Island. The cutting-edge teaching methods and lab spaces, the breathtakingly beautiful building itself and its downtown waterfront location will make Rhode Island a destination for health-care conferences where professionals share knowledge and ideas about how to improve health and health care. We are all fortunate to have this innovative facility that will attract and support future health-care professionals in Rhode Island and beyond.”
RIC School of Nursing Dean Jane Williams defined the RI NEC as “a world-class facility,” and stated, “RIC nursing graduates will be ready to provide the highest quality of care for Rhode Islanders and participate as leaders in the transformation of health care.”
Dooley explained the birth of the RI NEC, which began with an idea he had for a collaborative nursing program among schools. Paxson described the run-down condition in which they found South Street Station and how the building was resurrected, retaining its Classical Revival structure. Brown has invested more than $200 million in the neighborhood, including the Warren Alpert Medical School building, the School of Professional Studies and the Laboratories for Molecular Medicine.
Located near three hospitals, Brown’s medical school and numerous health-care start-ups, the RI NEC is the latest facility in an emerging health-care ecosystem in Providence’s former Jewelry District.
The governor’s goal is to transform the district into a hub of innovation, education and entrepreneurial ventures in the STEM fields which will increase the economic development, opportunity and vibrancy of the state. She cited the New York Times who called the area “a busy hive of invention and collaboration.”
The next phase of the South Street Landing project includes a 270-bed graduate and medical student housing complex called River House, targeted for completion in May 2019. This project is being developed by GMH Capital Partners in partnership with Wexford Science & Technology.
Additional plans for the Jewelry District, include a new Innovation Center being developed by Wexford Science & Technology, whose tenants will include Brown University, the Cambridge Innovation Center and Johnson & Johnson.