MIDWEST CITY — Betty J.C. Wright wasn’t at Rose State College to perform a concert, but that didn’t prevent her from belting out the lyrics from a Pointer Sisters song. "I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control, and I think I like it,” Wright sang Thursday during a speech before an audience of about 150. Wright is chairman of the Rose State College Board of Regents. She said her excitement stemmed from completion of the new Health Sciences Center on the campus. "When you finish this tour today, you are going to be excited, and you’re going to come out singing,” Wright told the crowd. The center was dedicated Thursday during a ceremony attended by Lt. Gov. Jari Askins; Rose State President Terry Britton; state Sen. Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City; District 1 Oklahoma County Commissioner Willa Johnson; and state Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, among others. After remarks from college officials, attendees took a tour of the new 44,000-square-foot facility. The building will accommodate more than 400 students, who will attend classes this semester, Rose State spokesman Ben Fenwick said. The facility features classrooms and laboratories, including a mock hospital room where students can use dummies as patients. "There’s so much more space,” respiratory therapy student Megan Johnson said. "That’s what’s so nice. Everything is a lot more organized. It really looks like it does when you go to a hospital.” The $12.5 million project was funded through a 2005 higher education bond.
Nursing shortageAccording to a report released by the state Commerce Department, Oklahoma is experiencing a shortage in the health care field. If the trend continues, the state is expected to have a shortage of 3,000 nurses, 600 lab technicians, 400 physical therapists, 300 surgical technologists and 200 occupational therapists by 2012, according to the department’s Web site. Students are being recruited several months before graduation and offered competitive salaries because of the shortage, said Dan Points, dean of the college’s health sciences division. Points said the starting wages for Rose State nursing graduates are usually $17.63 to $19.74 an hour.