The Nurse Will See You Now

Wausau, WI - When Northcentral Technical College (NTC) invested $20 million for the overall cost of its new 126,000 square-foot Health Sciences Center with cutting-edge multimedia technology, it meant business. The college is the first LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) educational building in the state.

With more than 340 students enrolled in health occupation programs for training hospital nurses, sonographers, EMTs, dental hygienists and radiology, dental, lab and x-ray technicians, NTC features authentic work environments such as surgical operating rooms, a dental clinic, labs and replicated patient hospital floors featuring every detail right down to the nurse call system.

The extensive multimedia project, featuring Crestron controls and a variety of cameras and projectors, extends to classrooms throughout the campus and at six distance-learning locations, enabling students to view real-time clinical training procedures.

Architectural design services for this unique project were provided by Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater Architects. As recommended by Keith Palmbach, NTC's facilities manager, Lang Associates was contracted to provide engineering and technology design services for the project, including an energy-saving lighting system, power, security, fire alarm, PA, telecommunications, card access, CCTV and multimedia systems. Installation and programming was provided by Media Technology Group of Appleton, WI.
The technical college sought feedback from various local health care professionals on what was important in the students' education. The most common answer was a facility that closely mimics real-life working environments. Northcentral Technical College is recognized as the only technical college in Wisconsin with this level of realistic design. In addition to educating, the facility is utilized by local corporations, along with Philips Medical Systems, for training seminars and equipment refresher courses. The personnel at Philips Medical Systems worked closely with the NTC radiology staff to provide the latest imaging equipment for training of radiology students and practicing radiologists. The result of this collaboration is NTC's energized radiology room and a non-energized 25-seat radiology classroom for live large group student or corporate training.

Chris Schultz, Lang Associates' electronic systems specialist, worked closely with various vendors, and coordinated the system installation featuring multiple Crestron Pro2 processors, TPS 5000s and Crestron's TPMC10 wireless touch panels. Crestron's e-control software allows the system to be managed from remote locations on the main campus center, with information from classrooms fed back to a control room located 400 yards away from the four-story Health Sciences Center in the main campus building. Lang provided the remote campus distance-learning classroom design; and Media Technology provided the installation and programming.

A variety of cameras were installed in the larger rooms such as the college's administrative boardroom, the main 200-seat auditorium and the six distance-learning large group classrooms ranging from 32 to 64 seats.
At key locations, WolfVision documentation cameras were used. "They have the highest quality and frame rate, equal to live video," Lang's Schultz said.

The distance-learning rooms on remote campuses also take advantage of the Crestron system, projectors and documentation cameras and a Polycom teleconferencing system. "Prior to the completion of the health sciences building, one or two rooms at each of the remote campuses-from 30 to 80 miles away-were brought up to cutting edge distance-learning technology in order to complement and take full advantage of the new facilities' capabilities," he said.

"Lang's challenge was in keeping ahead of changing technology," Schultz said. "Cable pathways and device locations had been chosen during initial classroom layout consultations, but the actual electronic systems were designed about three months before project completion so we could be assured of having the latest products. For example, for the Crestron controls, audio and video, inch and a quarter and two-inch pipe for cabling was specified. Close to completion we could have downsized to an inch or less, all within a year's time. For future flexibility we provided additional pathways, and I would guess that the life cycles of the main systems will be about six to seven years."

Kahler Slater Architects...


Media Technology Group...

Philips Medical Systems...

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