PITTSBURG — A simulation hospital will be built adjacent to McPherson Hall, home to the Irene Ransom Bradley School of Nursing at Pittsburg State University, thanks to private donors who initiated the project after learning of the need.

The project was announced Thursday by President Steve Scott at the annual Spring Convocation for faculty and staff. Scott reported that $6 million in private gifts has been identified, allowing the project to move forward.

According to Kathleen Flannery, vice president for University Advancement and president and CEO of the PSU Foundation, such a project aligns with the university’s strategic plan and will help to meet the continued demand for nursing graduates.

The project is envisioned as an approximately 5,000-square-feet addition, plus targeted renovations to the existing building that would accommodate cohorts of 120 students; currently, there are 90.

“We’re beyond excited about the opportunities, experiences, and education this will provide our students to prepare them for patient care,” said Cheryl Giefer, director of the School of Nursing.

Discussions have found that there is a need for an estimated four new hospital simulation labs within the simulation hospital; they are to be supported by associated control rooms, a debriefing room, a waiting area, study, storage, and restrooms.

“We are all so very proud of the compassionate, life-saving work our nursing students and graduates do, as well as of the faculty and staff who educate and train them, and we are grateful to the community and our donors for stepping up to support that work,” Flannery said.

The initial donor, John U. Parolo, of Croweburg, Kansas, died last February at age 94. A graduate of Northeast-Arma High School, he served in the 13th Armored Division during the European Theater of World War II. Wounded in 1945 near Cologne, Germany, he was awarded the Purple Heart, ETO Ribbon, and two Bronze Service Stars. As a civilian, he worked as a machinist for McNally Manufacturing in Pittsburg and The Boeing Company in Wichita for nearly 40 years before retiring in Croweburg.

Other donors wish to remain anonymous at this time.

“We will have an ongoing fundraising effort, the Caring Society, to provide an opportunity for others to also support this endeavor,” Flannery said.