FYI: A new building, A new campus, A new degree program

Achieving New Heights: Bachelor’s programs, Honors College get new home

A three-story building opens to  students at Palm Beach State in Lake Worth this fall, creating a new home for the College’s bachelor’s degree programs and the Dr. Floyd F. Koch Honors College. The $8.2 million, 40,601-gross-square-foot building further enhances the northern entrance to the campus on Lake Worth Road. It features a three-story wing with 15 classrooms and a two-story administrative wing with 26 single offices and other office space. The wings are connected by a three-story glass atrium, giving the appearance of two buildings as people enter the campus from the Lake Worth Road entrance. It also features wide corridors, allowing for corridor seating, and a 144-seat lecture hall.

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Palm Beach State inches closer to land purchase for fifth campus

Palm Beach State College has signed a $4.5 million contract to purchase 75 acres in Loxahatchee Groves for a future fifth campus.

The move puts the College closer to sealing a land deal that has been in the works for more than a year and to establishing what would become its first new campus in more than 30 years. The last time the College opened a campus was in 1982 with the establishment of the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

The land is located in midwestern Palm Beach County at the northwest corner of Southern Boulevard and B Road and includes over 1,000 feet of frontage on Southern Boulevard. In

addition to Loxahatchee, the campus would draw from residents in the communities of Wellington, Royal Palm Beach and The Acreage.

Palm Beach State signed contracts Feb. 3 with Simon Family Trust, which owns the land, and Atlantic Land Realty, a company that plans to develop a commercial shopping district on adjacent land that it also is securing from the Simon Family Trust.

The College is now working with Loxahatchee Groves on land-use amendments that would allow this land to be used as a state college and gain the town’s approval of the College’s site plan. The College must settle these steps and other matters before the Oct. 30 deadline to close on the land deal. The site will be purchased with auxiliary fund revenues, which are proceeds to the College from operations such as the bookstores, food service and vending machines. No general fund revenues are being used or diverted from classrooms or personnel for the site, said Richard Becker, vice president of business services and administration.

A construction start date has not yet been set.

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New degree program puts career success in focus

On the Palm Beach Gardens campus this fall, Ophthalmic Medical Technology students begin the new two-year program that leads to an Associate in Science degree in one of the nation’s fastest-growing medical occupations.

Ophthalmic medical technologists work closely with ophthalmologists – eye physicians and surgeons – in the evaluation of vision and treatment of patients with eye disorders. Using advanced diagnostic instrumentation, these skilled professionals obtain medical histories, measure patients’ visual acuity and assess optical correction, assist the physician, and perform clinical and administrative responsibilities.

There are only about two dozen such programs nationwide, and Palm Beach State College’s is the first in South Florida. Located in the BioScience Technology Complex, the program’s newly constructed learning center features a laboratory with the latest ophthalmic equipment. Students will develop technical proficiency through a hands-on curriculum taught by ophthalmologists and certified technicians and perform externships in local ophthalmic practices, clinics and hospitals.

“This program has been five years in the making,” says Robert M. Kershner, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S. Dr. Kershner, a board-certified ophthalmologist and Palm Beach State professor of anatomy-physiology and microbiology, developed the program and serves as department chairman. “A career in vision is one of the most satisfying and rewarding a student could choose. Certified ophthalmic medical assistants, technicians and technologists are among the most sought-after careers in all of medicine and in high demand by eye physicians and surgeons.”

Preference for admission has been granted to residents of Florida, where the need for eye medical treatment and surgery is strong and growing. Following program completion and industry-standardized examination, graduates will be qualified to be certified by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant, Certified Ophthalmic Technician or Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist.

The Ophthalmic Medical Technology A.S. degree program joins more than 20 other health care-related degree and certificate programs offered by the College.