Health addition officially opens


The grand opening ceremony of the Brooks College of Health addition was Oct. 10, which marked the 20-year anniversary of the original College of Health building.

The addition opened Aug. 25, almost two decades after the first building.

Approximately 200 people attended the ceremony including UNF faculty and medical staff, nursing students and employees of the Mayo Clinic.

The morning began with Dr. Pierre Allaire, vice president of Institutional Advancement, describing the new facilities and floor plan of the four-story building.

Joan Farell, the founding dean of the College of Health, spoke to the crowd about the hard work UNF has done.

She praised the school and community for making the addition possible.

“This college has made firm footprints in the health industry in Jacksonville,” Farell said. “We have earned a reputation as an up-and-coming nursing program. Each year hundreds of students graduate; when I was here, only five did.”

The combination of the nursing program and Student Medical Services in the same building makes hands-on learning possible for students, said Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, vice president of Student and International Affairs.

“[I thought] it would be a great idea,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve never seen a student medical services building in a college setting, and now its collaborative between the college.”

Vedad Begic, a senior in the nursing program, was recognized as an outstanding student.

He spoke during the ceremony about his reasons for coming to UNF after being raised in Bosnia.

“We need many resources to become better, and in this addition, we have what we need,” Begic said. “Nursing professors know we are the next generation. It’s a warming feeling that someone cares for us.”

After the ceremony, free health screenings and student and staff-led tours were given.

The new addition cost $12 million, with the first $1 million check awarded by Dr. J. Brooks Brown, a retired physician who the College of Health is named after.

Five Jacksonville hospitals provided the funding for the physical therapy program.

There is a staff of 11 full-time and four part-time employees at Student Medical Services, with various doctors staying as residences for one month at a time.

Employees of the Mayo Clinic visit the facility every Monday and Friday to examine a younger age group.

Full-time nurse Nancy Youngberg explained how much more space and basic equipment the staff is able to work with now.

“There’s no hot water in the building now … but we have a refrigerator and little tables,” Youngberg said. “In the old building we had a paper shredder, kitchenette, microwave and X-ray box [on top of one
another]. Here, it’s like we’ve died and gone to heaven.”

E-mail Sarah Gojekian at [email protected].