Simplified: Students pursuing healthcare careers at Southeast Technical College now train in essentially a mini hospital. Here's a look at the new Healthcare Simulation Center.

Why it matters

  • Nearly two years after first announcing the project, Southeast Tech is now educating students in a state-of-the-art facility designed to replicate hospital environments from the emergency room to the operating room to the medical laboratory.
  • The simulation center is housed in what was previously the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship – now known as Startup Sioux Falls. That organization moved downtown to a city-owned building in early 2023.
  • The 40,000-square-foot facility cost more than $14 million between the building purchase and renovation, according to Stephen Williamson, director of Southeast Tech's foundation.
  • So far, about 100+ students use the facility daily doing everything from simulated live births to surgeries to responding to emergency room patients.
"Anything you can do to a human, you can do (to mannequins) in one of our simulators," Nursing Instructor Traci Grogan said.

Tell me more about the facility

The entire project was the result of several partners, including both Sanford Health and Avera Health, Forward Sioux Falls, the South Dakota Development Foundation and the State of South Dakota.

The simulation center is set up so that students can practice essentially any type of medical interaction with a mock patient via mannequins.

  • Instructors, then, can sit in a room adjacent to simulation rooms and control the mannequins – adjusting things like heart rate, for example – and they can watch to see how students react and adjust care accordingly.

The building includes:

  • an emergency room,
  • four operating rooms,
  • several patient care rooms,
  • skills labs,
  • a medical lab,
  • as well as classroom space and common areas for students to relax and study.
"It replicates a health care system in one building," President Bob Griggs said, adding that students who graduate from Southeast Tech will be uniquely prepared to enter the healthcare industry.

Representatives from both Sanford and Avera also attended a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon, and both spoke to the need for healthcare workers in the Sioux Falls community.

"The timing of our $300 million project – we need as many of these potential employees as possible," Avera Chief Operating Officer David Flicek said.

What happens next?

Students are already using the building for hands-on learning, and those learning opportunities will likely impact every student looking for healthcare career training at Southeast Tech in the future.