Published to 5newsonline.com  on January 15, 2020



FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education is continuing its expansion in Fort Smith.

The building that houses the new Physical Occupation Therapy and Physician’s Assistant programs is finally complete.

Construction on this new $25 million, 66,000 square foot facility wrapped up in November 2019 and furniture was moved in last week.

Students will be able to earn a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree at the new facility.

“We work with individuals from birth all the way to old age in a variety of settings,” said Dr. Jennifer Moore, Dean of School of Occupational Therapy.

The classrooms mirror where graduates of this program will work in the real world.

“Our students will be able to be ready day one,” Moore said. “We’re going to require them to prepare ahead of time to class so that class is not sitting and hearing a lecture and then putting that down on a paper.”

In addition to this brand new state of the art facility, students and patients will be able to work one-on-one with canine companion Nibs.

Nibs knows dozens of commands like helping retrieve items or resting on someone who’s feeling anxious.

For those wanting to meet Nibs and work in a high demand field, they can start applying to the program this summer.

The first class is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021.

After three years, students will become professionals with a long term impact on the River Valley.

“If a student goes to school in an area and trains beyond graduation in that same area the majority of those students will live and continue to practice in that area and become members of that community so that is our aim and mission,” said Brian Kim, President of Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.

The college has even more plans to expand further. Two more facilities will also be built on campus in the near future.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the School of Occupational Therapy building is set for April 18th.

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