LOGAN – Utah Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson has been to a lot of ribbon cuttings.

But this one, at the newly built Frederick Quinney Lawson Health Sciences Building at Bridgerland Technical College (BTECH), meant something more to her.

In the fall of 2020, Lt. Gov Henderson got COVID-19. Complications from the virus put her in the hospital where she underwent two unsuccessful surgeries.

“In agony, I had a spinal cord leak,” she told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I couldn’t lift my head, I couldn’t even have my head on a pillow.”

She was scared. She didn’t know how she could live with the pain she had endured for three weeks – with no assurance the next surgery would lead to a different outcome.

The night before her third surgery, she laid in a hospital bed in Provo crying. She felt defeated. That’s when a nurse knelt at her bedside and gave her a pep talk she will never forget.

“You can do this … you have to do this,” he told Lt. Governor Henderson. “Everything will be OK.”

That nurse gave her courage to face the unknown and became the hope that helped Lt. Gov Henderson keep going.

“That’s what the people who work in and learn in this building will do for others,” Henderson told a crowd in the newest building on BTECH’s campus. “They will give them hope, they will give them courage, and they will have meaningful work, meaningful purpose – which will contribute to (Utah) remaining the happiest state in the nation.”

On Tuesday, Utah Lt. Governor Deidre Henderson, local healthcare administrators, donors and educators cut the ribbon at BTECH’s state-of-the-art health science building at the corner of 1400 North and 600 West in Logan.

Construction began in 2021 on the 79,000-square-foot building which was designed and built in collaboration with Method Studio, Layton Construction and the Utah Division of Facilities Construction and Management. It will hold seven health career programs, including Dental Assisting, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy, Nursing Assistant, Practical Nursing, Pharmacy Technician, and Registered Nursing through Weber State University.

“I am thrilled to have this fantastic new facility carry my name,” Frederick (Rick) Quinney Lawson told the crowd of people at the ceremony. “But it will only truly be wonderful if those who make use of it to graduate are prepared to offer back to society all that they have learned here.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened a new page in Bridgerland Technical College’s expanding technical college footprint in Northern Utah.

“This building is going to expand our capacity … by 30-50 percent,” Lisa Moon, vice president for instruction at BTECH, told Cache Valley Daily during a tour of the facility.

The health science building has several state-of-the-art simulation center labs that allow healthcare students to realistically provide care and make decisions in a training environment that closely mimics a real world environment.

“Simulation allows students the opportunity to work in events that, in the past, they’ve just had to watch,” she explained.

Lt. Governor Henderson said the ribbon cutting meant so much to her, not because she once attended Bridgerland Technical College, or had a child who attended – but for a different reason.

“It’s meaningful to me because I was a stay at home mom for a lot of years … I had five kids by the time I was 28.”

As a young mother, she dropped out of higher education to care for her family as her husband was the sole breadwinner.

“I was always worried,” she said. “I had this nagging feeling and worry – if something were to happen and I needed to provide for my children – what was I going to do?”

This ribbon cutting meant more because she saw hope in a future for others who might have started out like her.

“What I love about BTECH (and) technical education, is there are a lot of people like me who maybe got started a little later in life, on their education, or something happened and they needed to pivot and retool,” she told a room full of community members, students, legislators, and philanthropists. “And that’s the opportunity technical education provides – and I love it!”

“You can come to Bridgerland Technical College as a brand new high school graduate, a recurring professional, a mom who has been staying at home for the last ten years,” Moon said. “You can enter the profession and you can go clear through a baccalaureate in nursing here with us with our cooperative partner – Weber State University.”

The technical college serves the Cache, Box Elder and Rich county areas and has a local healthcare job placement, whether that be nursing, pharmacy technician, medical assisting, in the 90th percentile, according to Moon.

“90 percent of our students are placed locally, get jobs and are working and improving the community’s health.”

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