A plan to move more than a dozen College of the North Atlantic (CNA) students from Grand Falls-Windsor to St. John’s will cost around $200,000.
The college started a medical laboratory sciences program in central Newfoundland last year, but found that the school’s labs weren’t up to snuff.
Now, it’s unclear what CNA will do, and the program isn’t accepting new students until the school figures the situation out.
“The college assumed that the program could be offered, but when we got into the infrastructure in the building and the federal requirements for accreditation of the program, there was infrastructure to be built, renovated, changed in order to be able to offer programs (which are) federally accredited,” CNA president Ann Marie Vaughan said.
“It came to the point that we couldn’t make the infrastructure work to meet the federal requirements, and the students have got to be our primary concern. We had to move the students because they need to graduate from a program that’s federally accredited.”
The medical lab sciences program was announced as part of a $1.9-million budget commitment from the provincial government in the spring of 2011.
The program accepted students to start studying in the fall of 2011 — the first year was mostly classroom science, without lab work.
Vaughan said CNA believed that a medical lab assistant facility in Grand Falls-Windsor would work to offer the program, but once they started working out the details, it found the lab wasn’t up to federal standards.
“The classroom experience has got to mirror the health-care experience. So you can imagine what amount of detail has got to go into a laboratory for it to simulate what exactly a student would be using in a health-care environment,” she said.
For this year, the 14 students headed into their second year will be moved to St. John’s — at the college’s expense — and no new students will be accepted.
All told, Vaughan said they believe the price tag will be in the range of $200,000.
“We had to shift gears and completely focus in on those students,” Vaughan said.
“We’re not happy about having to move students out of one campus to another.”
Now that the administration has figured out what they’re doing with the students, Vaughan said they’re back to focusing on how to solve the lab situation for the long term.
She said they’ve got a few different options, but there’s no real sense of how much it’ll cost to fix the situation, or what they’ll end up doing.
“I suspect if you ask me in a couple months, we’ll know clearer on that,” she said.
“This gets very complex, and no matter what option we come up with, there’s a large variance in costs.”