VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO)– It’s out with the old and in with the new for the University of South Dakota’s health sciences department.

This year, the Center for Health Education opened at USD, offering a home base for all of the university’s health sciences majors. It provides students with state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and technology to prepare them for the growing field of health care.

The old buildings which once housed health science classes are now being torn down as the USD health sciences department has transitioned into this brand new 45,000-square-foot facility.

“The new health sciences building is a tremendous addition to campus,” said Sheila Gestring, President of USD. “They had been in an old, renovated dorm facility, which didn’t replicate the modern teaching environment that they needed or the kind of education that they deserve.”

“It gives us more space, and it gives us more hands-on learning experiences. The classrooms and the study areas they have state-of-the-art technology which is really excellent and compliment the learning of the students,” said Haifa Abou Samra, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at USD.

This new facility has advanced equipment that students will be using in the workplace.

“Our students need to be able to walk into the workplace familiar with modern-day equipment and what the hospitals and clinics are using, so they are ready to get to work day one without significant training from the employer,” said Gestring.

“They are very excited, they are very happy they are very satisfied with you know that environment and they are using it. There isn’t one day where I don’t walk down the hallways and see students just collecting in the study rooms and studying and getting together,” said Samra.

With all the majors in one location, students are able to focus on team-based learning.

“Now we are able to have everyone all in one location and working together and really immolating what you see in hospitals and clinics and that is working in teams, working together,” said Gestring.

Preparing to grow even more in health care education.

“Each program has a little growth built into it because a lot of our programs have been near or at capacity,” said Gestring.

The health sciences department at USD has a new nurse anesthetist program that will be beginning this spring as well. Those students will be at the USD location in Sioux Falls.