more than two years of planning, designing and renovating, the Marshall School
of Pharmacy officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday
at the school in Spring Valley.
Some 200 guests, including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Congressman Nick J. Rahall, II, and Sen. Robert H. Plymale, attended the ceremony at the Robert W. Coon Education Building, located on the Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in Wayne County. Eighty students will begin preparation for their pharmacy careers when classes start Monday, Aug. 20.
“As our population ages, the need for pharmacists in hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing homes and rural health clinics will continue to escalate,” Gov. Tomblin said. “At the same time, our pharmacists are on the front line in the war on drugs, and I’m grateful that Marshall will prepare these soon-to-be pharmacists to serve our communities in every capacity their careers may encounter.”
Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp said the opening of the program signals the beginning of a new era of health care and health care education for West Virginia.
“For decades, our School of Medicine has educated physicians who deliver state-of-the-art medical care to West Virginians and patients across America and the globe, regardless of whether they reside in large cities or rural communities,” Kopp said. “The establishment of the Marshall School of Pharmacy fosters the pursuit of a similarly dedicated mission. In just four short years, the first cohort of Marshall pharmacy students will graduate. They will be well-prepared to deliver quality pharmaceutical care and counseling across the health care continuum for all sectors of our society.”
Kopp praised founding dean Dr. Kevin Yingling and his colleagues for designing the program, which in the spring received pre-candidate accreditation status from the Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education.
“I am very grateful to Dr. Yingling and his leadership team for their hard work in establishing a dynamic and well-conceived pharmacy program that will educate future pharmacists,” he said. “The need for pharmacists, particularly in West Virginia, is great as is evidenced in study after study including statistics from a 2010 report by the Pharmacy Manpower Project. Our program, which provides an affordable public option for West Virginians, will certainly help meet that projected need.”
Marshall’s School of Pharmacy has established education agreements with dozens of health care providers and community pharmacies throughout West Virginia and the tri-state region where students will receive their experiential education. Locally, hospital partners include Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Kings Daughter’s Medical Center, River Park Hospital, Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital, the VA Medical Center, Pleasant Valley Hospital, Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC),Thomas Memorial Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and CAMC-Teays Valley.
“The opening of the Marshall University School of Pharmacy marks another significant advancement in meeting the health care needs of our region,” said Edward H. Seiler, Director of the VA Medical Center. “VA staff are looking forward to our partnership with Marshall's newest academic enterprise.”
Tuesday’s event also showcased the Coon Education Building, which has more than 76,000 square feet of space and recently underwent a nearly $9 million transformation.
“I am extremely pleased with the facility and what it offers our students,” said Yingling. “From the design of the technology-enhanced classrooms that feature SMART technologies to the common study spaces and patient simulation areas, our students have access to top-of-the-line educational opportunities. They will certainly benefit from a facility that contains areas of learning, research and pharmacy practice all in one building.”
The Coon building was built in the late 1970s to house Marshall’s School of Medicine, but with construction of the Marshall University Medical Center, the Erma Ora Byrd Clinical Center and the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, many of the medical school classes moved to the new downtown facilities. Edward Tucker Architects Inc., of Huntington, designed the building’s overhaul and M.I.R.C. Construction Services of Scott Depot served as general contractor.
Photos: (Above) From left, Sen. Robert H. Plymale, Congressman Nick J. Rahall, II, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp, School of Pharmacy Dean Kevin Yingling and Edward H. Seiler, director of the VA Medical Center, cut the ribbon today during a ceremony signifying the opening of Marshall’s School of Pharmacy in Spring Valley. (Below) Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin addresses the big crowd gathered today at the School of Pharmacy for a ribbon cutting. Photos by Rick Haye/Marshall University.
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