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Rhodes State’s Borra Center for Health Sciences Dedicated and Opened to the Community

The doors of the new, $21 million Borra Center for Health Sciences officially opened to the public on Saturday, October 2 at 1:30pm. An open house was hosted by College leaders, faculty, and staff until 4:00pm. Prior to the Open House, a dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting inaugurated the Center’s transformational influence on the region.

            Attendees at the dedication were welcomed by Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Rhodes State, Mr. Kevin Reeks. Immediately following, the collaborative effort for the vision and realization of the Center was celebrated by remarks given by Rhodes State President, Dr. Cynthia E Spiers. Ohio Senate President, Matt Huffman; Ohio House Speaker, Bob Cupp; Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor, Randy Gardner; City of Lima Mayor, David Berger; Pier C. Borra, Borra Family Foundation; and Rhodes State College Board of Trustees Chair, Jane P. Krites, were platform speakers.

Located in the region’s medical hub, the Center daily serves hundreds of students as they pursue their educational goals toward becoming healthcare professionals in several disciplines: Nursing, Respiratory Care, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Emergency Medical Services, and new programs such as Surgical Technology. The Borra Center is designed to integrate existing healthcare initiatives and to facilitate new opportunities for programming and partnerships. The Center’s state-of-the-art design and technology provides opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and the ability to connect with multiple healthcare facilities to train students and healthcare professionals, as well as to offer services to the community.

            In August 2013, the Rhodes State College Board of Trustees took action to acquire properties upon which the Center now sits. Following contributions from the City of Lima and the State of Ohio, site acquisition was completed in 2018. Construction began in March 2020, and a lead gift for the creation of the Center was received from the Borra Family Foundation in September 2020.

            Pier and Renee Borra, founders of Arbor Health Care and CORA Health Services, attended the Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting ceremonies on Saturday. They have been partners with Rhodes State, funding scholarships, since 2005. As of 2021, scholarships funded by the Borra’s have served 111 students, helping them to complete their education and become healthcare professionals.

In 2020, through the Rhodes State College Foundation, the Borra’s pledged their support to the College’s Center for Health Science Education and Innovation. In recognition of the Borra’s dedication and contributions, the facility was renamed the Borra Center for Health Sciences.

            The 50,000 square foot Center is home to the most state-of-the-art healthcare education technology and resources available. There is an open classroom with a nine-panel interactive video wall and Anatomage table; Physical Therapist Assistant and Occupational Therapy Assistant Labs and Home Rehabilitation Apartment; Emergency Medical Services Ambulance Simulator and Lab; four Clinical Simulation Suites – Medical/Surgical, Obstetrical, Surgical, and Emergency/ICU – with high definition patient simulators; a Central Simulation Control Room; four Simulation Debriefing Rooms; a 12-bed Nursing Lab with four Exam Rooms; and a four-bed Respiratory Care Lab.

The arts have been an important part of the Center’s realization as well. Part of the funding received from the State of Ohio for the Borra Center included a “1% for the Arts” opportunity. Working with the Ohio Arts Council, Rhodes State College selected artist Irina Koukhanova to create a sculpture honoring the Lima region’s history and the importance of the Center’s location.

            Koukhanova, a Professor of Art in Sculpture and Chair of the Department of Art and Design at Cleveland State University, created Cornerstones using architectural elements of the Union Block building, which stood on the Borra Center site. She honored the region’s history while creating an experiential sculpture, which she hopes will inspire exploration of the region’s history and influence.

            In addition, the Borra Center is home to three works by Tom Cullen, Lima native and stained glass artist. Within the donor wall at the Town Square entrance is his work, Only Love Can Save Us, which depicts the pandemic, during which the Borra Center was built and opened, surrounded by a heart. A larger version of Only Love Can Save Us is installed in the west tower. Yet to be unveiled, Cullen is creating another work, which will be a companion piece for the north tower.

            The dedication of the Borra Center for Health Sciences comes as Rhodes State College celebrates its 50th year of changing lives, building futures and improving communities. Since 1971, educating students to become essential contributors to manufacturing, business, public service, healthcare, and their communities has been a constant for the institution. Today, Rhodes is creating new programs, building new facilities, repurposing existing facilities, purchasing advanced laboratory and program equipment, and collaborating with regional partners to garner fresh ideas and insights to meet in-demand workforce needs. The new Borra Center for Health Sciences is an example of how Rhodes State is creating interdisciplinary learning environments, equipped with the latest technology, to serve students and the region. The College has grown over 50 years and boasts an alumni family of 19,000+ degree graduates, 87% of whom live, work and raise their families in the region.