KEYSER - It was definitely a day to celebrate at WVU Potomac State College Friday, and the town came out to help open the new School of Nursing in the J. Edward Kelley Complex.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - It was definitely a day to celebrate at WVU Potomac State College Friday, and the town came out to help open the new School of Nursing in the J. Edward Kelley Complex.
Located in the former Kelley National Guard Armory, the new School of Nursing is actually part of a larger program located on four different West Virginia University campuses throughout the state.
PSC president Jennifer Orlikoff noted that the university’s theme - One WVU - is being carried out at Potomac State by being able to offer the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
“We are a part of the system as a whole,” she said. “I like to think of it as a family.”
Lucas Taylor, director of development for Potomac State, noted that the new school is “the result of what happens when a group of people rally around a single vision.”
He thanked the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Grant County Bank for helping secure funds for the program, and Tara Hulsey, dean of the WVU School of Nursing, for her drive in pushing the project through.
Both Taylor and Orlikoff gave a nod to April Shapiro, who serves as chairman of the program, for being a leading force in bringing their dream to fruition.
“The stars were in alignment for us to be able to bring April to our campus,” Orlikoff said.
Shapiro spoke a bit about the history of how the School of Nursing came about, noting that a small group of people started in 2015 “with the goal of establishing an associate level program.”
Shapiro said it was Hulsey, however, who asked the key question: “Why are we planning an associate-level program when we already have an accredited BSN available?”
The school features lecture rooms, offices, and labs, including some set up to represent a typical hospital room. One mannikin actually blinks his eyes and breathes, while another was named “Harlan” in honor of retired executive director of campus operations Harlan Shreve.
Shapiro said the school received permission to admit students on July 29, and the Class of 2021 is ready to begin their education. Some of them were in attendance for the ceremony Friday.
One of them, Ashley Thompson of Petersburg, spoke briefly about what it has meant to her to be able to pursue her education at Potomac State’s School of Nursing.
“I will be able to go to class, but also stay close to family,” she said.
Thompson said she plans to work in an emergency room upon her graduation, and eventually to become a nurse practitioner.
Classes begin at Potomac State on Wednesday.