Providence, RI--On November 29, 2017, university, civic, and state leaders gathered for the opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting of South Street Landing and the RI Nursing Education Center. Council Chair Bill Foulkes served as the emcee for the event.
The former South Street Power Station facility now houses 265,000 square-feet of academic and office space occupied by the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center and Brown University. Begun in 2013, the $220-million project is intended to serve as a catalyst for economic development in Providence’s Jewelry District adjacent to the former I-195 land.
"This project is a great metaphor for the changes we're undergoing as a state," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "This used to be a power station on the edge of a booming jewelry district. But as manufacturing changed and the jobs went away, the factories went silent. Today, we're changing the narrative. This empty power plant is now full of young people learning in-demand skills that will let them compete in the 21st century. I want to thank everyone who worked tirelessly to make this happen."
Occupying space on the lower three floors of the building, the Rhode Island Nursing Education Center is an innovative collaboration between the nursing programs at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. With classes already underway for fall 2017, the Center currently trains approximately 700 undergraduate and graduate nursing students in state-of-the-art simulation laboratories, classrooms, and skills labs.
"This building's origins are in collaboration, and its potential exists in collaboration that leads to innovation--three great universities, Brown, URI, and RIC sharing space and intermingling," said Chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education Bill Foulkes. "This project represents our shared investment in and commitment to higher education as a key partner in our state's economic growth."
"The University of Rhode Island is preparing nurses to be both advanced clinical practitioners and leaders in 21st Century health care. To achieve this our nursing students need access to the most advanced health education systems, experienced teachers and immersive, hands-on clinical training," said University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley. "The Nursing Education Center more than meets that demand, positioning the university and the state of Rhode Island at the forefront of the increasingly technological medical world. Nursing and nurse practitioner students leave URI poised to provide the care and leadership that patients and our health care systems require."
"The Rhode Island Nursing Education Center is an extraordinary demonstration of innovation and academic strength within the healthcare sector," said Rhode Island College President Frank Sánchez. "This world-class facility will further enhance our position as a leading producer of nurses and healthcare professionals in the region."
On the floors above the Nursing Education Center, more than 400 staff members from 11 departments at Brown University will occupy 136,000 square feet. As Brown continues its growth in the Jewelry District - where it has invested more than $225 million in recent years, including in the state-of-the-art Warren Alpert Medical School building, the School of Professional Studies and other projects - those employees will join more than 1,100 faculty, students and staff who already work, teach and conduct research in the neighborhood on a daily basis.
"Brown is proud to be an anchor tenant in this magnificent facility and equally proud to have been a part of the exceptional private-public partnership that made it possible," said Brown University President Christina Paxson. "South Street Landing extends Brown's commitment to catalyzing economic growth in the Jewelry District. This project is contributing to a vibrant community by drawing more students and professionals to the neighborhood, generating academic and entrepreneurial collaboration, and driving more businesses and more jobs."
The South Street Landing redevelopment was funded through the public-private partnership between the State of Rhode Island and Brown University, along with a combination of federal, state, and local tax credits.
Originally built between 1912 and 1925, South Street Power Station produced electricity for Narragansett Electrical Lighting Company until it was decommissioned in 1995. With the renovation designed by Cambridge-based Tsoi/Kobus & Associates (TK&A) in partnership with Providence-based Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels (DBVW) Architects, the structure and its historic features were preserved and space was expanded with three additional stories added onto the upper floors. Development began under the ownership of CV Properties, and the property is currently owned by Ventas, Inc., in partnership with Wexford Science + Technology and managed by Cushman & Wakefield.