COLUMBIA — Columbia College moved into the YouZeum building on Cherry Street on Monday after renovating it to create more office space for its Online Education Center and a training center for its nursing program.
The college owns the 30,000 square foot building formerly owned by YouZeum. Columbia College renamed it Federal Hall because of its history as a federal post office.
“We restructured the walls to allow for more office space,” said Ernest Wren, assistant dean for Columbia College Online Campus. “Other than that, the place was in pretty good shape.”
Columbia College renovated the second floor to increase the classroom space and equipment for the Nursing Education Center.
“The new facilities are a large benefit to the nursing program,” Wren said. “The simulation rooms are now structured so that students can act out as if they really are in the ER.”
Nursing students previously conducted simulations in a renovated church on campus and had only three hospital beds to work with. Federal Hall offers a massive space for simulations including a series of beds and new technology, Wren said.
After completing a two-and-a-half year program, nursing students can obtain an associate degree. The Associate in Science in Nursing degree is available at the main campus in Columbia and the Columbia College-Lake of the Ozarks campus in Osage Beach.
The YouZeum closed in October 2010 after having been open for two years. The health museum struggled to stay in business because of low attendance. According to a previous Missourian article, the building was valued at about $6.5 million.
“Columbia College takes ‘eye sores’, and instead of leaving them empty, helps them keep their infrastructure in the community,” Wren said.
Along with transforming the museum’s retail shop into a conference room on the first floor, the college added a video conferencing room, a break room lounge and a document imaging center.
“With this new building we are able to better accommodate student needs,” said Brandi Herman, assistant director of public relations, referring to the new parking lot reserved for students.
Herman said the college plans to build a separate science building and is working toward expanding the Nursing Education Center even more.