Omaha, Neb. (Nov. 30, 2017) – The “Old Gym” at Creighton University, also known as the Vinardi Center, has housed a variety of inhabitants over its more than 100-year history. It is now home to a state-of-the-art pharmacy lab, giving students hands-on education in the field of pharmacy.
It once served as the home court for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and had a swimming pool for Creighton’s swim team. The gym was also home to activities such as dances, commencements, class registrations and was at one time used as a computer center.
Over the summer, the space was completely transformed. The sleek, tech-savvy lab accommodates 85 students and provides areas to practice patient counseling, sterile and nonsterile compounding, community pharmacy simulation and drug information activities. The lab also is equipped to teach distance learners.
“We wanted to be able to accommodate both our campus students and our distance students,” said Shana Castillo, PharmD’01, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and lab director.
The new skills lab sets Creighton University apart from other schools who offer similar programs, said Castillo. “I know prospective students are going to be excited about the learning opportunities this new facility provides.”
The project to relocate the pharmacy skills lab to the Old Gym was challenging to say the least. University architect, Coale Johnson, said crews worked to remove and salvage the existing wood floor, numbering and shrink wrapping all of the planks and palletizing them so they could be upcycled. Reclaimed Enterprises, an Omaha firm that promotes the reclamation and reuse of sustainably sourced materials, is making furniture and other items out of the old gym planks.
Creighton University Athletics, which moved to the eastern campus fitness corridor, contributed $1.5 million for the repurposing of the gymnasium into an academic space.
The pharmacy lab joins other campus entities such as the Division of Information Technology and fellow newcomer Emergency Medical Services in the century-old building’s latest iteration.