BILLINGS — After 18 months of construction, the 135,000-square-foot Rocky Vista University Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine in Billings is complete and showcased its state-of-the-art technology to Q2 Monday.
“We have technology that really supports learning,” Becky Rogers, the director of campus operations, said.
The first full-time medical school in Montana will focus on active learning. There are no lecture halls, only classrooms for group-based learning, such as going over case studies. The building is also filled with simulation rooms where projectors can turn four walls into a hospital room or an outdoor emergency, such as a drowning victim, one may encounter. All hyper-realistic simulations are complete with lifelike mannequins that can breathe and be administered IVs. During the tour, one mannequin was in labor.
Students will also learn using virtual reality goggles.
“Through the goggles, they can go inside the body, inside the heart, go inside the bloodstreams and just explore things you couldn’t explore without the use of technology,” Rogers said.
Eighty students are anticipated to be in Rocky Vista’s first class, starting mid-July. The college's founding dean and vice president, Dr. David Park, said they have a plan for housing, by partnering with Stock Development.
“We recognize that housing is a challenge,” Park said. “[They have] committed to build 720 brand new apartments, directly adjacent to our property.”
The main campus is on the western side of Shiloh Road near the intersection with Monad Road.
According to Park, 36 apartments have already been built, and students and staff will receive priority.
“We’re just really excited for the students to get here in July. We’ve been working hard for that moment and we can’t wait,” Rogers said.