Vanderbilt University School of Nursing opened a new $23.6 million building expansion containing a state-of-the-art simulation lab, technologically advanced classrooms and student services offices with a grand opening and ribbon cutting event in January. The high-tech building also features wellness components designed to support occupants’ well-being in health and comfort.

As part of its focus on well-being, the building incorporates natural lighting, improved air quality, a rooftop green space and open staircases with wide landings. It was constructed to meet LEED Gold certification and rigorous WELL Building Standard requirements that consider a structure’s impact on its occupants in the areas of air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. The university will apply for WELL Silver certification and anticipates that it will be Nashville’s first building designed from the ground-up to be WELL-certified.

The Simulation and Skills Lab fills the building’s third floor, and the technologically sophisticated teaching/learning space contains advanced equipment and 13 patient care bays that can be used for emergency, obstetrics, pediatric, bedside, practitioner office or neonatal nursery settings.

In addition to advanced technology in the Simulation Lab, the building includes a virtual classroom and sophisticated interactive classroom. Vanderbilt Board of Trust Chairman Bruce Evans says: “The Wachtmeister Interactive Classroom is equipped with five, high-definition, interactive displays that allow students to huddle for collaborative work, show content to small groups on individual displays from their own laptops or smart devices, and to share the results of their work on multiple displays with the entire classroom. This important, state-of-the-art, collaborative and interactive workspace adds new opportunities for learning and teaching at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.”

Other technology-advanced class/seminar rooms in the building include the elegant fifth-floor Christy-Houston Foundation Inc. Conference Room, second floor Holeman Reynolds Conference Room and the Agnes K. Godchaux Conference Room, which serves the third-floor Simulation Lab. The fifth floor also contains the Sandra Coats Chase Terrace, an open-air green space that adds to the building’s wellness components.

Other wellness aspects include natural lighting that supports human circadian rhythms with optimum light intensity for at least four hours a day, an open staircase with wide landings that encourage low-impact and moderate-to-vigorous stair climbing, ceiling tiles in the classrooms that soften sound reverberation, and the deliberate incorporation of nature with a landscaped open space in front of the building. The colors, textures, patterns and materials used in the expansion have been selected to reflect nature and connect people with natural surroundings.