Gateway Technical College has moved forward with a plan to completely gut and remodel the Lincoln Building on its Racine Campus and turn it into a training center for its Nursing program.

The estimated $7 million renovation will help meet the increased need for trained nurses in Racine as well as serve an ever-increasing number of students seeking to enroll in the college’s most popular academic program. Plans call for the center to open in Spring 2022.

The Gateway Technical College Board of Trustees and the Wisconsin Technical College System still need to approve the plan before it becomes a reality.

Plans are the result of work done by a committee made up of college staff, three board of trustee members and a representative of the city on how to best use the aging Lincoln Building. Options explored included tearing it down and turning that area into a park, tearing it down and putting up a new building or remodeling the current building.

“There’s a good portion of that building now that is unusable. Coupled with the age of the building, that has become more of an issue as time has gone by,” said Bill Whyte, senior vice president, operations. “The design of the building also limits our capacity to do anything within that framework. All we have are offices, and the faculty offices on the third floor are seldom used now.”

“The cost to tear it down and build were high, and we ultimately decided to remodel it. It’s a win-win for all – students, the community and the college.”

Under the plan:

  • Students benefit by having increased access to enroll in the Nursing program and enter this in-demand career field. While the college’s enrollment capacity is large, it still turns away potential Nursing students every year. This center would allow the college to expand the program from its Kenosha Campus and Burlington Center to also include the Racine Campus.
  • The community benefits because it would have trained nurses for current and future healthcare needs. Whyte said labor estimates indicate 40 percent of nurses in the current workforce in Gateway’s district will leave those positions within the next five years, creating a need for trained nurses. New health care facilities will be built in Racine and Mount Pleasant, in addition to a new community health center in Racine, which all contribute to the need for more trained nurses.
  • The college benefits by being able to expand its program to allow for more students to enroll. The new Nursing site plans feature a Nursing skills lab, classrooms, human patient simulators, and Nursing faculty offices. The project makes the building more efficient and the college will be able to use space that is unused now.

The plan calls for the inside to be completely gutted, remodeled and the stairs and elevator to be moved from the building’s inner core to outside of its western and eastern walls.

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