The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 12, 2010

Pitt-Johnstown gets shot in arm | Nursing program adds to UPJ’s appeal

The Tribune-Democrat

— By 2014, 160 students will be enrolled in a four-year nursing program on the Pitt-Johnstown campus.

With approval in hand from the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, the university can move forward with plans to build its Nursing and Health Sciences Building and launch its expanded nursing education program, first announced almost two years ago.

We applaud UPJ for the vision it has shown in developing this program, which should help fill an ongoing hiring void for the region’s hospitals and clinics.

UPJ’s 20,000-square-foot nursing building will cost $10 million, with the state pledging $4 million in funding.

And even before ground is broken, UPJ will begin offering bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Currently, students can attend the Richland Township campus and enroll in the RN completion program, through which they can build upon two years of training elsewhere to complete a four-year degree.

We agree with UPJ President Jem Spectar, who called the news a “great new chapter in our campus history.”

UPJ spokesman Bob Knipple said the admissions process will begin immediately. The new nursing building is in the design phase, with no set timetable for construction to start.

Already, work is under way on a new wellness center on campus.

The nursing school announcement is another positive story coming from the growing local campus.

“Pitt is well known for nursing and health science programs,” said Janet Grady, who co-chairs the university’s Division of Nursing and Health Science. “It’s something we’re all very, very proud about.”

The program is something this community can be proud of as well.