QUINCY -- In the eyes of Brenda Beshears, Nov. 6, 2019, will likely go down as a momentous day. It was on this date that the public first saw the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences new campus at 3609 N. Marx Drive in Quincy. Beshears is its president.
"This is a really big day in the history of our college," Beshears said. The college was previously housed on the Blessing Hospital campus. "We have moved from a College of Nursing primarily focused on nursing to being a College of Nursing and Health Sciences. As we made that move, it became imperative to us that we really have that traditional college entrance. We were rather landlocked in a beautiful facility, but we were outgrowing it. As we looked at how we wanted to grow into the future, the need for a new facility became more clear."
The college's new campus is the former home of Vatterott College, which closed in 2018.
Beshears said the building went through an extensive remodeling before opening to students this fall.
The building has seven classrooms, including multiple computer labs, a library, a student lounge and offices for all of the faculty and staff.
Beshears said the college will continue to introduce degree programs as well as enhance existing ones. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor and master degree levels.
The college is moving its radiology program to a bachelor's degree program. Similarly, the medical laboratory technician program is going from a certificated program to an associate's degree.
Officials hope these program offerings coupled with the new campus will translate into an increase in enrollment, now close to 300 students.
"When we have our visitation days with our partner colleges, we are seeing a lot of interest from prospective students," Beshears said.
She said that a recent meeting of prospective students held in a 65-seat classroom was standing room only. Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences partners with Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., and Quincy University for some degree programs. The college also partners with John Wood Community College.
"As prospective students visit, they are excited about the new space," Beshears said. "One of the things that our students, faculty and staff tell us is that the environment here is a very calming environment. When the students are in their spaces, in their classrooms, in the library, they are finding it very calming. That enables them, I feel, to really open their minds to learning."