Five Highline College students quickly take turns performing chest compressions on a patient on the second floor of Building 26.
Their attentiveness is unfazed by the chaotic buzz of the beeping medical machines tracking the patient’s vital signs and the directions being commanded by another student — or the tour group watching the scene unfold.
These students are in a Highline College medical program and working to stabilize a simulation mannequin patient in the recently renovated Health and Life Sciences Building.
Highline College hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the $30.3 million project for the public to see and experience the new space on Jan. 31.
“The renovation of this building into a new health and life sciences building further allows Highline College to provide an excellent education opportunity that aligns with our goals of access, inclusion, equity, learning and community,” Highline College President John Mosby told the crowd of more than 70 attendees.
The Washington State Legislature funded the majority of the project with $3.4 million in design funding during the 2015–17 biennium, which was part of a Washington Community and Technical Colleges’ capital funding request to the Legislature, according to the college’s press release. In the following years, the Legislature approved an additional $23.37 million for construction during the 2018 legislative session, which former 30th District Rep. Kristine Reeves and Rep. Mike Pellicciotti helped secure.
Highline then funded the $3.17 million remainder of the cost through local construction and service and activities funds, which students pay within their tuition; the Associated Students of Highline College provided $200,000 for wellness center fitness equipment.
Flooded with natural daylight due to the building’s many windows and ample open spaces, the colorful hallways lead to classrooms full of modernized medical equipment and state-of-the-art learning tools.
Students have been in the building since the beginning of winter quarter in January 2020.
The 46,068-square foot, three-story building is now home to several departments that were previously dispersed across campus, including nursing, nursing assistant care, respiratory care, healthcare professions and physical education.
“We’ll have actual patient rooms, so it will simulate more like a medical clinic when you go see the doctor,” said Laurel Lunden, Highline’s Healthcare Professions coordinator. “We’ll also have cameras so we can start videotaping or watching students as they perform and practice their skills.”
The building, designed by McGranahan Architects and built by Pease Construction, also houses laboratories for biology, anatomy and physiology courses, along with a wellness center available to all students, staff and faculty.
“The new facilities and equipment will give us more opportunities to educate students on a broader variety of exercise techniques,” said Darin Smith, a physical education and personal fitness trainer instructor at Highline. “It will provide us with more space for exercise demonstrations, fitness instruction and small group training sessions …”
Building 26 is the college’s first major state capital project in the last decade, and Highline’s first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building on campus, becoming the new model for the institution’s sustainability.