FVCC Breaks Ground on Nursing Building

By Beacon Staff

It was overcast and windy on May 22, and heavy rainclouds hovered above the Flathead Valley Community College campus, but none of that could dampen the spirits of the crowd gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking.

FVCC administration, staff, supporters and community members cheered as the shovels hit the soil, marking the beginning of construction on the Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Sciences.

“I know this is a very exciting day for the college and the community,” FVCC President Jane Karas told the crowd.

The new center is the first privately funded building on the FVCC campus, Karas said, and is possible largely due to the $4 million gift from the Broussard family. The Broussards gave the money to the college in memory of Rebecca “Becky” Broussard, a nurse and equestrian enthusiast who passed away in 2010 after a battle with breast cancer.

Karas thanked the Broussards for their generous gift, and said it will strengthen health care in Northwest Montana through the training of FVCC’s ever-growing ranks of health science and nursing students.

FVCC has tripled the enrollment in its practical nursing program, which included initiating a nursing program in Browning, and launched a new Associate of Science in Nursing (RN) program in 2012.

The college also added a new emergency management degree program last fall. A new building would provide adequate training space for all of these new students.

The 32,000-square-foot center will house the practical nursing program, registered nursing program, paramedicine program, emergency management program, physical therapy assistant program, surgical technology program, medical assistant program, anatomy and physiology classes and a student health clinic to provide basic health care services for students at low cost.

“This gift will … change many lives,” Karas said.

Karas also thanked the businesses, hospitals and donors that also supported the new center. The college set a $1 million fundraising goal for the remaining building costs, and as of May 22, it had collected $880,000.

FVCC Board of Trustees chairman Robert Nystuen also thanked the Broussards and the community for the support, calling the building a “vote of confidence” in what FVCC can do for the valley, the students and the local hospitals.

Broussard’s family were the first to dig into the dirt, with her husband Jerome, daughter Sarah Broussard-Kelly, brother John Chaney, and daughter Rebecca Broussard plunging gold-colored shovels into the earth.

The wind picked up as they dug, but that didn’t stop Broussard-Kelly from taking a few steps behind her family and flinging the dirt into the air, much to the delight of the crowd.

Construction on the building should be completed next spring, with a dedication ceremony planned for March.

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