SHAWNEE—Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) trustees celebrated the grand opening of Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall, approved recommendations for senior faculty status, and approved a recommendation to replace the roof on Raley Chapel among other business during their spring semester meeting Fri., Feb. 5.

The Board of Trustees attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Stavros Hall and participated in building tours provided by nursing faculty and students.

The 32,000-square-foot Stavros Hall facility is the new home to the OBU College of Nursing and is designed to provide cutting-edge nursing education for both undergraduate and graduate-level students. Members of the University community, local leaders, members of the health care industry, and University Board of Trustees members as well as health care leaders were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Stavros Hall includes five classrooms, a 109-seat lecture hall and a computer classroom, as well as spaces for students to study, meet and interact with faculty. The facility features six high-fidelity skills simulation labs, a medium skills lab, a health assessment skills lab, and a home health and bathing training room, totaling 24 beds.

The high-fidelity simulation labs are equipped with the industry’s most advanced medical simulation solutions. They include life-like human patient simulators that can blink, accept fluids, and respond to a nurse’s care. Instructors control the simulators and create changing symptoms for the students to respond to, ranging from fever, regurgitation, cardiac arrest, and more. The high-fidelity labs even include a birthing suite, with a simulator that “gives birth” to a simulated baby, passing through all stages of labor.

Will Smallwood, vice president for university advancement, welcomed guests to the ceremony. Nico Gomez, CEO of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, offered the opening prayer. David W. Whitlock, president, and Lepaine McHenry, dean of the College of Nursing, both offered remarks.

In 2014, Nick Stavros provided the lead gift for construction of the new facility for the OBU College of Nursing in honor of his late wife, Jane, who was the daughter of Victor C. Hurt, legendary OBU athletic director and football, basketball and track coach. The building is named in their honor. Members of the Stavros family also gave remarks during the ceremony, including Christina Stavros-Morton, Stephanie Stavros-Guinn and John Stavros.

In 1952, the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing granted OBU the approval for Oklahoma’s first baccalaureate nursing program. The inaugural class of 11 students graduated in 1956.

OBU’s nursing program now offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, a BSN completion degree for nurses with an associate degree, an LPN to BSN degree, and a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a focus in either nursing education or global nursing.

More about the College of Nursing is available at the OBU website,

Original to the building in 1961, the roof of Raley Chapel will be replaced this summer with Ludowici clay tile and will be funded through both an insurance claim stemming from a severe hailstorm in spring 2015 and from fundraising resources. The $1 million project will begin in June with a planned completion date prior to the fall semester. Additional work will be completed as necessary to the copper spire.

New seating in the Noble Complex arena also was approved. Original to the arena, the current seating no longer operates to extend and retract as needed and parts are no longer available to correct issues. The new bleachers will meet current ADA requirements and will be funded through athletic fundraising.

Sabbatical leave was granted to Alan Bandy, Strickland professor of New Testament and Rowena R. Strickland chair of Bible, for the fall 2016 semester to complete research and writing several books related to New Testament studies.

The Board of Trustees approved senior faculty status for D. Brent Ballweg, professor of music/Burton H. Patterson chair of music; Krista Hands, associate professor of mathematics; Peter Purin, assistant professor of music; Valarie Watts, assistant professor of nursing; and Dawn Westbrook, assistant professor of nursing.

Full-time faculty contracts were approved for the 2016-2017 academic year. Skip Robinson, chair of OBU’s 31-member board of trustees, moderated the board’s plenary session.