LWIT’s new Allied Health Building is asset to college and community

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s Allied Health Building. Photo by Deborah Stone
A new structure graces the campus of Lake Washington Institute of Technology, formerly Lake Washington Technical College (the new name change occurred last April in recognition of the institution’s increasing emphasis on technical education).

It’s the Allied Health Building, a three-story, 83,000-square-foot facility located on the southeast corner of the campus.

Construction, which began in September 2009, has wrapped up and the doors will soon open to students for fall quarter.

The building, which contains state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and clinical facilities, is energy efficient with a LEED rating of silver.

It will be the home to the school’s allied health programs in nursing, medical assisting, dental assistant, dental hygiene, massage practitioner, physical therapist assistant, occupational therapy assistant and funeral service education.

The latter is the first certified program of its kind in the state and one of only a few on the West Coast offering this curriculum.

Students who enroll in funeral service education are trained as both a funeral director and an embalmer. Their skills are in high demand as the need is great for qualified professionals in the field.

Before the new building was constructed, those in the program had to go off campus for most of their studies, as there weren’t proper facilities for them to learn about all the aspects of the industry, particularly the skill of embalming.

Now, however, the college has a complete embalming lab, a private conference room to confer with bereaved families and a retail space containing information on funeral arrangements.

"We will be advertising our services to the public," explains Regine Adams, director of marketing for Lake Washington Institute of Technology. "People will be able to come to the school much in the same way they would go to a funeral home. The students, under professional supervision, will be assisting through the entire process."

Thus far, two classes of students have graduated from the program, with another to begin in the fall.

Other curricula boast equally impressive facilities within the new building.

For those pursuing a career as an occupational therapy assistant, for example, there is an apartment simulation lab complete with a kitchen, bathroom, living area and even a pull-down Murphy bed.

Nursing students have accurate, reality-based clinic and treatment simulation labs, including an ICU and surgical suite, along with a sampling lab and supply room.

An oversized elevator, similar to what you’d see in a hospital, will be used to move medical supplies to the various labs.

There are large, articulating beds in the PT lab and top-of-the-line dental chairs and equipment within the labs for the dental assistant and dental hygiene programs.

"This building is unique in that it was constructed with money from the college and from WaNIC," notes Adams. "WaNIC stands for the Washington Network for Innovative Careers, which is a consortium of seven K-12 school districts. A new WaNIC high school skills center focused on allied health is co-located in the new building, which creates the opportunity for a smooth and seamless transition of students from the skills center to the college programs."

According to Adams, the new facility will serve 350 full-time equivalent students creating pathways in high demand health care fields.

David Woodall, interim president of the college comments, "The new Allied Health Building is an exciting addition to our Kirkland campus. Its state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories simulate actual hospital settings and provide the backdrop for training that will help meet the regional demand for nursing and allied health employees. The building blends beauty, efficiency and functionality and is a tremendous asset to our college and the community."

Lake Washington Institute of Technology will host a grand opening for the Allied Health Building on September 14. Kick-off festivities begin at 4 p.m. with a VIP ribbon ceremony. 


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