WEATHERFORD — By SALLY SEXTON
It was a special day for the campus of Weatherford College, as a crowd braved the rainy weather to attend the official grand opening of the Don Allen Allied Health Sciences Building Thursday afternoon.
The 31,000-square-foot structure, completed last month, houses allied health programs such as associate degree nursing, licensed vocational nursing, sonography, respiratory therapy, radiology and phlebotomy, replacing the previous allied health building, still on campus, that had been outgrown. The structure, at a turnkey cost of $6 million, was paid for mostly with the college’s reserve fund, while about $400,000 came from the Weatherford College capital campaign.
“Raise your hand if you’re been to a medical facility and been treated by one of our Weatherford College nursing students,” Vice President of Institutional Advancement Brent Baker told the crowd. “And did you get excellent care?
“That’s what helps make today such a special day for us.”
WC President Kevin Eaton recognized some of the donors who made the construction possible, including Jerry and Vickie Durant, who contributed the single largest donation. The Durants requested the building be named after friend Don Allen, who also serves as a trustee on the WC board. As a token of appreciation, they were presented with a commemorative plaque.
“In 1965, a couple purchased 90 acres of land on a hill outside of Weatherford. And everyone thought they were crazy,” Eaton said. “That same property is the one that you all now sit and stand on.”
Eaton noted that while construction was completed on time, the building also came in $140,000 under budget.
“I challenge you to find any comparable building that is as nice as this one at the same cost,” he said.
Board president Frank Martin thanked the architects involved as well as the leadership of the Weatherford College Foundation and capital campaign supporters and volunteers.
Two nursing students, Shannon Coble and Dennis Maguth, spoke about their experience moving from one building to a completely new one.
“It’s one of the nicest buildings I’ve been in,” Coble said, while Maguth admitted that the old allied health building could get a bit “cozy” at times.
In addition to the festivities, Bob Glenn, president of the Weatherford College Foundation, announced that the foundation would be providing $200,000 scholarships for students next year, while continuing to provide assistance in the coming years.
Concluding the ceremony, those present were allowed to take guided tours through the facility to experience some of the features, which included a simulation lab with hospital beds and simulated mannequins, as well as the many lecture halls, and labs for radiology and x-raying.