From Clinic to Classroom in a Swing of a Hammer

Renovations are set to begin this week to transform the former Clarkson Family Medicine Building into the new Clarkson Commons & Education Center expanding the footprint of Clarkson College. On Feb. 3, College employees celebrated the start of the long-awaited project with a “wall-breaking” ceremony, kicking off the demolition process.

“I have been with the College a long time, and we have been talking about this project for the last 10 or 15 years,” said Interim President and Dean of Nursing Dr. Aubray Orduña. “We have really been looking forward to it.”

For years, College administrators have been searching for opportunities to expand their facilities. When Clarkson Family Medicine announced their move to a new location near 13th and Leavenworth Streets, the opportunity presented itself. The 14,000 square foot structure, located at Douglas and 42nd Streets, is adjacent to campus and connected to the main building by a walkway over 42nd Street, making it an ideal addition for the institution.

The College began conceptualizing plans to utilize the building after acquiring it, and the finalized plans outline designs that will incorporate more versatile student and faculty spaces into the building. Three new multipurpose classrooms will be built on the second floor, and each space will act as a flexible learning environment that functions as a large lecture space or smaller, more intimate discussion rooms. Students will enjoy an open commons area and can reserve quiet work rooms for group or private study. Faculty currently occupying temporary office spaces in the Residence Hall on campus will move to offices located on the first floor of the new building after renovations are complete.

“Students are going to have a place to go and talk to their faculty in confidence,” said Clarkson College Board of Directors Chair Dr. Steven Black. “They will have places to study where it’s quiet. The faculty will now have the facilities they need to get the job done that they need to do and feel good about it.”

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) will also relocate from the main College building to the second floor of the Clarkson Commons & Education Center. The remodeled area will allow CTE staff to provide hands-on training for multiple faculty at a time, and the workspace will incorporate modern technology that includes a Smart Board and fully functional recording room. The space will provide instructors with the tools needed to offer course content that incorporates the latest learning techniques. 

The project is scheduled to take approximately ten months, and the facility will be open for classes beginning in spring 2021. It marks the beginning of the latest phase of the institution’s Master Facilities Plan, which will ensure that they remain at the forefront of health care education. Along with the recently updated Mary E. Balkan Science Lab and new Interprofessional Learning Center, the Clarkson Commons & Education Center will offer students the opportunities they need to become the best in their health care field.