Walsh University in North Canton opened its newest building, Saint John Paul II Center for Science Innovation, at the beginning of the spring semester in early January.

Walsh University in North Canton opened its newest building, Saint John Paul II Center for Science Innovation, at the beginning of the spring semester in early January. It was dedicated and blessed on March 13 and named after Saint John Paul II.

The 15,000-square-foot building is equipped with the latest in technology for the science majors. It includes science, exercise therapy, blood and gross anatomy labs along with classrooms, faculty officers and study areas for students. The university is also designing a new degree program for occupational therapy and the students from that major will be using labs and rooms in the new building.

“Walsh, like other universities, is seeing an uptick in interest in the science-related degree programs,” said Pamela Ritzline, chair for the division of health and sciences and professor, physical therapy. “We needed more space because of the current demand for science classes. Plus, we are developing an occupational therapy program and we needed more lab and classroom space for that program. The building, which is a green building, was filled to capacity on opening day and the classrooms are being utilized around the clock.”

READY FOR LEARNING

One of the unique teaching tools Walsh installed in the Center is an Anatomage virtual dissection table. The university is only one of two schools in Ohio to have the high-tech teaching tool.

It's a combination of hardware and software built to resemble an operating table or hospital bed. It comes preinstalled with 3D gross body male and female contents, 3D high resolution regional anatomy and has a digital library with over 120 pathological examples.

The images projected on the table are full and life size. One of its purposes is to add capacity to cadaver labs.

Dedication and Name
The new building is annexed to Walsh's Timken Natural Sciences Center. Walsh held a formal dedication and blessing ceremony on March 13. It was officially named after Pope John Paul II who was canonized as Saint John Paul the Great on April 27, 2014.

In a formal state, university President Richard Jusseaume said, “It is significant that John Paul II's name be permanently linked to Walsh as a testament to our Catholic heritage and mission to develop leaders in service to others. The Center honors the legacy of a Pope who openly valued the role of youth in the church, a Catholic identity in higher education and the relationships between Faith and Reason, Science and Religion and Philosophy and Theology, as confirmed in his Encyclical Letter 'Fides et Ratio.'”

Looking to the future

Ritzline said the university is developing the occupational therapy degree to meet local employer demands for trained and skilled occupational therapists. She said while there is some crossover between occupational and physical therapy, occupational focuses more getting a person back to functional everyday activities.

Other science related programs using the building include computer science, chemical engineering and materials science among others. There are also five faculty offices on each of the two floors.

“We are just so thrilled to be in the new building and look forward to getting the occupational therapy students here soon,” Ritzline said.