A ribbon-cutting for the first visible image of the medical school being built in the U.S. Virgin Islands – the Medical Simulation Center – was attended by local and federal dignitaries on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands Wednesday.
The one-story building at the entrance to the university is more than 21,000 square feet with trauma and hybrid operating rooms, 18 surgical skill lab areas, four team training rooms, patient exam rooms, a dining room, and an auditorium.
After speakers lauded those who conceptualized, built, and will teach at the center, visitors toured the facility and listened, mesmerized, to manufacturing representatives explain how the interactive technology will teach future nurses and physicians.
UVI President David Hall shared some of the history of the project that was born in 2014. Initial funding came from the V.I. Legislature and Executive Branch after legislators traveled to Tampa, Florida, to observe the University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.
“We believe that in the future it will attract medical device companies who want to be located close to a facility like this one in the Caribbean,” Hall said.
The St. Croix program is patterned after the South Florida center’s. To complete the project, funding of around $35 million was provided with a federal grant approved by the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration.
“We believe that this center, because of the technology that it has, because of the sophisticated mannequins that you will see, will turn on imagination and innovation lights in the minds of middle school and high school students so that they can start pursuing careers that they did not even know existed,” Hall said.