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WNC nursing lab relocates to campus

By Steve Ranson
The Academic Skills Center at Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus will house a nursing lab, which relocated last week from Churchill County’s annex building.
Steve Ranson/LVN

The Western Nevada College’s nursing lab that previously located at the Churchill County annex building relocated to the Fallon campus last week, said college President Dr. Vincent Solis.

“The county has a good opportunity to develop a testing facility that will help rural Nevada,” Solis said, adding he looks forward to the nursing lab returning to the Virgil Getto Hall.



Both Solis and County Manager Jim Barbee worked together to free up the space at the annex building for a satellite health laboratory to process local coronavirus tests. Barbee said the lab will improve the turnaround time to report results.

The county will use federal and state funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, and Barbee said the county must use the funding that totals about $1 million before the end of the month. He said the county has ordered initial supplies and equipment such as countertops, cabinets and lab hoods. Additionally, the county commission recently approved the hiring of a lab director and technician to staff the lab and process test results.



“We believe this will be a great advantage in reducing the backlog of our test specimens at the State Health Lab and allow us to get test results back to county residents in a more timely manner,” said Shannon Ernst, Churchill County’s Social Services director.

Currently, it takes almost one week for county residents to receive test results after going through the testing at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

Although the county has been experiencing a dire situation with COVID-19, but as of Friday, Barbee said he hasn’t seen a significant increase in the positive numbers.

Both Barbee and Solis said the county helps the nursing program by providing $10,000 a year, and the county also assisted with the remodeling of the annex building lab.

Solis said he understands the county’s needs, but he pointed out by bringing the students back to campus will provide them with more direct services. He added WNC’s partnership with Banner Churchill Community Hospital will still provide for nurses in rural Nevada.

Solis said the new nursing lab will be housed in the Academic Skills Center adjacent to the library. By the beginning of the second semester, he said boxes of lab material and equipment will be unpacked and set up for the nursing students. He said the new lab will be just as good if not better than the space leased at the annex.

“We remain 100% committed to Fallon and the rural communities we serve,” he said.