Thompson Rivers University

TRU opens state-of-the-art health-care building

September 15, 2020

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is thrilled to open the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health to train in-demand health-care workers in BC. The building has state-of-the-art practice environments and technology to keep up with changing health education.

The $37.2-million project was made possible through the support of the provincial government ($8 million), private donors ($3.6 million), the university’s capital reserves and ongoing fundraising.

“TRU will have capacity to improve access for students, improve transition into the labour market, enrich research opportunities and simulate the full spectrum of health-care environments. For this, I am proud of today’s opening,” said TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn.

The innovatively designed Chappell Family Building prioritizes student needs. With it, lab space for the School of Nursing has tripled from 16 to 48 beds. The three-storey building includes high-tech patient simulation labs, a home-visit lab, seminar rooms, student lounges, research space, breakout rooms and a 60-person classroom. It supports collaborative learning for interdisciplinary teams while fostering creativity and innovation.

“This new building will transform how my classmates and I learn to be the future health-care workers in BC. We are excited to use this new facility,” said fourth-year TRU nursing student Lisa Bonang.

Critical to student success is the Dr. Sherman Jen High-Fidelity Simulation Centre, made possible through a donation of $1.5 million from Dr. Sherman Jen. Four simulation labs equipped with computerized mannequins and reflecting real health-care settings will better prepare students for working conditions and support research designed to improve health outcomes.

Faculty member Wendy McKenzie said TRU’s new lab facilities are unique in nursing education. Faculty will have unprecedented resources and technology to simulate a wide range of scenarios and observe student responses.

“This new space for the TRU School of Nursing will help us continue to educate and develop world-class health-care workers. This space will enable students to be work ready once they are done their program,” said TRU School of Nursing Dean Rani Srivastava.

The Dr. Sherman Jen High-Fidelity Simulation Centre is also home to Super Tory, a lifelike infant manikin newly purchased this summer with dollars raised at the TRU Foundation Gala in February. For the first time at TRU, Super Tory will allow nursing students to experience simulated pediatric emergencies.

By providing a home for the School of Nursing, the new facility brings together under one roof students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Health Care Assistant and Master of Nursing programs. Though COVID-19 prevents full in-person instruction, limited groups of students will use lab space this fall.

“This new state-of-the-art training facility will be a game changer for health care students at TRU. Our government is committed to student success and providing education and training close to home. By investing in advanced health care technology and education, we are equipping the next generation of health professionals with the skills needed to provide British Columbians with the highest standard of health care services,” said BC Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark.

Funding Partners and Donors

In addition to an $8-million investment from the Province of British Columbia, these donors have contributed significantly toward this new building. TRU is deeply grateful for this generous and impactful support and thanks the many other donors who have contributed, and continue to help fund this building.

  • Dr. Sherman Jen
  • The Stollery Charitable Foundation
  • Spencer and Janet Bryson
  • Ken and Maureen Lepin
  • Kamloops Rotary Clubs
  • TRU Foundation Gala donors

About the Chappell Family

With the Chappell Family name, TRU is honouring a private donation of $1.5 million and celebrating the legacy of Catherine and Edward Chappell. Catherine and Edward met in Kamloops and were married in 1938. Catherine completed her nurse training at Royal Inland Hospital and worked as registered nurse in the BC communities of Kamloops, Michel and Fernie and became a public-health nurse. Edward worked for the Crowsnest Coal Company and was a passionate community volunteer.

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