More nurses heading to Trident Tech

File Photo (WCIV)

By: Dean

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Future Lowcountry nurses will soon have a new place to study. Trident Technical College is expanding not only its nursing program but the building where students will learn.

The land is currently being cleared making way for a state of the art Health and Science building.

"This is not a building. This is a jobs project, an economic development project. This is about jobs. This is about students in line wanting to enter health care jobs," said Dr. Mary Thornley, President of Trident Tech.

Trident Tech's nursing program is off the charts with the demand skyrocketing.

"The economy tanked. There were layoffs in a lot of areas, but health care was impacted far less. Now the economy is rebounding and health care will be impacted right away," said Dr. Thornley.

The project is being funded by all three counties.

Charleston County is in for 18 million dollars, Dorchester County 4.5 million and Berkeley County 7.5 million dollars.

Dan Davis is Berkeley County Supervisor.

"It comes at a difficult time. It would be a difficult request anyway, but particularly now its really tough," said Davis.

Finding the necessary money to finance their end of the deal will be discussed at the next Berkeley County Council meeting.

"It would be a small tax increase but there's no way to fund it out of the general fund. We don't have 6.5 million laying around to hand them," said Davis.

But the number Dr. Thornley is most concerned about is the 1500 students currently on a waiting list to get into the program.

"Students don't want to wait two more years when a health care career is their dream. They don't want to wait and we don't want them to wait,"said Dr. Thornley.

If all goes to plan, the new building will open in 2014 and it will welcome in the largest class of future nurses ever seen at the fastest growing college in our state.

There are currently 650 nursing students at the school. The new building would allow for that number to grow to 1000.