Wharton County Junior College President Betty McCrohan and WCJC Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Gertson, center, cut the ribbon dedicating the newly refurbished Johnson Health Occupations Center on the Wharton campus. The facility houses the college's Allied Health programs as well as Emergency Medical Services. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on March 20 and attended by more than 170 people.
WHARTON, TEXAS – Elected officials and community members joined Wharton County Junior College students, administration and staff on the Wharton campus March 20 for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the renovation of the Johnson Health Occupations Center.
With mild temperatures and clear skies providing the perfect backdrop for the celebration, more than 170 attendees gathered on the lawn outside the newly refurbished facility as WCJC President Betty McCrohan expressed her thanks to the Johnson Foundation and the Gulf Coast Medical Foundation for providing the funding necessary to make the project a reality.
“This is a long-time dream come true,” McCrohan said. “The renovations and expansion are a wonderful opportunity for our students, and that’s what we are here for – student success.”
The $6.5 million project began in June 2017 and included the construction of a new 18,000 square foot addition on the facility’s north side in addition to major renovation on the existing 34,000 square foot building. Houston-based Abel Design Group and Bass Construction of Rosenberg oversaw the project. The original building was constructed in 1981.
The upgrades and renovations have enabled the college to offer top-notch training needed for successful employment in the competitive healthcare field. The Johnson Health Occupations Center houses the college’s Allied Health programs, including Associate Degree Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Health Information Technology, Human Services, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Vocational Nursing and Pre-baccalaureate Nursing. The college’s Emergency Medical Services program also operates in the facility.
“We can now provide state-of-the-art medical training equal to or better than what they (WCJC students) will find in the workplace,” said Carol Derkowski, Allied Health division chair.
A large part of that training is the use of simulation, made possible through realistic mannequins that can be programed to do everything from run a temperature to give birth to a newborn. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were invited to behold several of these simulations, with WCJC students demonstrating the various techniques being taught.
“The new world in Allied Health is simulation,” Derkowski said. “It enhances our students’ ability to act quickly and it enhances their ability to learn.”