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Panola College in Carthage, Texas, expands health sciences with new building

Panola Watchman

Panola College in Carthage, Texas, officially cut the ribbon on a health and natural sciences building Monday.

It’s the first of two new buildings to open as part of a $35 million bond package passed by Panola County residents.

The 65,000 square-foot building designed by Corgan Associates of Dallas is mostly glass, according to Panola College president Gregory Powell. He says the nursing program’s six simulation labs have one-way mirrors so people walking the halls can have a clear view into the mock hospital rooms.

“We have mannequins in there that can talk to the students and breathe. We can insert IVs. We have a maternal mannequin that will actually give birth to a baby. We can have these mannequins have heart attacks,” Powell said.

Panola’s enrollment has almost doubled over the past 15 years to about 2,700 students. Powell says seven health sciences degree programs will be housed in the new building. Most notably, the two-year registered nursing program has an enrollment of about 120 students.

“We had not only outgrown the space we were in and were having to turn people away from programs, but we needed the technology upgrades that this building affords. I think this is a great time in the life of Panola College,” Powell said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center is set for Sept. 21.

Credit Panola College submitted
Panola College's board of trustees cut the ribbon on the new health and natural sciences building.

The college is demolishing its old fitness center and student center. Those buildings are more than 60 years old, Powell says, and can’t be repurposed cost effectively. The campus also is erecting a clock tower.

Campus construction underway and newly completed totals $41 million.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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