AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Augusta Technical College and Piedmont Augusta cut the ribbon on the brand-new School of Health Sciences at the Piedmont Augusta Summerville Hospital on Thursday.

According to the school, the new School of Health Sciences will have 23 programs of study including nursing, surgical technology, respiratory care, radiologic technology, cardiovascular technology, occupational therapy assistant and other high-demand health sciences programs.

Each program will provide hands-on learning “using state-of-the-art equipment and includes clinical rotations with any partners throughout the region.”

Piedmont Augusta Board Chairman Hugh Hamilton said that the new school will give renewed purpose to the Summerville campus, which formerly housed Trinity Hospital of Augusta.

“The average American isn’t aware of the severity of the nursing shortage in our country,” explained Hamilton, “Our Summerville Campus was underutilized, and Augusta Tech needed room to grow their Health Sciences programs. Mr. Davis and Dr. Whirl recognized the potential of utilizing this facility to expand the nursing program, and here today we celebrate the fulfillment of that vision.

The Piedmont Augusta Foundation is establishing a $1 million endowment to fully cover the expense of the registered nurse associates degree program.

Augusta Technical College President Dr. Jermaine Whirl says the new school and partnership with Piedmont Augusta will help Augusta Tech fulfill its vision of being a nationally recognized academic institution.

“The opening of the Augusta Technical College School of Health Science Campus at Summerville is one of the most transformative projects undertaken in the Augusta Region,” said Dr. Whirl. “For our institution to move our entire School of Health Sciences to an actual hospital surpasses anything we could have built ourselves or accomplished in a simulated lab environment. The ability to utilize the millions of dollars’ worth of technology in the hospital, while accessing the medical professionals working here, will ensure our students have a seamless experience from classroom to the hospital floor.”

The school will open for the Spring term beginning January 9.