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College of Human Ecology

Kansas State University to dedicate new facility for speech and hearing center

Friday, August 26, 2005

MANHATTAN -- After many years of planning, fund raising and construction, he Kansas State University College of Human Ecology is dedicating the new K-State Speech and Hearing Center at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. The public is invited.

The Center is housed in the newly named Campus Creek Complex, located north of Justin Hall. The ceremony will take place at the building's south entrance, with a reception and tours following the ceremony. There also will be an open house from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 10.

Dedication speakers include K-State President Jon Wefald; Provost M. Duane Nellis; Dean of the College of Human Ecology Carol E. Kellett; Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Ann Bosma Smit; Kelsey Kohn, graduate student in communication sciences and disorders; and Mike, Jody and Sean Kenney, a family that has benefited from the Speech and Hearing Center's services.

The expansion and renovation project was funded completely through private investments. The ceremony will honor those who contributed to the project.

"Those who invested in this program invested in not only K-State and our students and faculty, but the entire Manhattan area," said Bill Meredith, director of the School of Family Studies and Human Services. "Individuals and families who live with communication disorders will benefit from the project for years to come. It is a wonderful addition to our program, our campus and our community."

The new facility has allowed the Center to integrate the latest technologies into clinical and academic teaching, as well as research. The Center provides clinical experience for students in the communication sciences and disorders academic program, which provides training for graduates to become speech-language pathologists.

The building provides extensive space for therapy sessions, including a therapeutic kitchen. Rooms are designed for individuals who have diverse needs, including therapy rooms customized with brightly colored therapeutic toys and appropriately sized furniture for children. The spaciousness of therapy rooms accommodates those who use a wheelchair or other adaptive equipment and provides an opportunity to introduce students to different types of programming, including small-group interactions.

An audiology suite introduces students to the hearing aspects of communication. Specialized laboratories provide space for learning of anatomical structures and their function in communication and swallowing. Additional laboratories have been customized for research in language and literacy, the voice and swallowing disorders.

"The scope of practice for a speech-language pathologist has expanded significantly over the past 20 years," said Jane Mertz Garcia, associate professor in communication sciences and disorders. "The new Center greatly enhances our ability to prepare K-State graduates to succeed in any type of work setting under the ever-changing demands of the profession."

One aspect that distinguishes the facility is the integration of a multi-channel cable television network within the Center. This television network allows therapists, students, faculty supervisors and family members to view therapy sessions from various observation rooms and in the Center's dedicated classroom area.

The new complex is an expansion of several earlier buildings, one of which has been the long-time home of the K-State Family Center. This project doubled the size of the previous facility, allowing the two centers to share a reception area and business office. Prior to moving into the complex, the K-State Speech and Hearing Center occupied space in Leasure Hall.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, speech-language pathology is a field growing at a much faster than average rate (an increase of 36 percent or more between 2002 and 2012) because of the aging of our population. Nationwide, 42 million people have some type of communication disorder.

For more information, contact the College of Human Ecology dean's office at 785-532-5500, or the K-State Speech and Hearing Center at 785-532-6879.

This article was posted on Friday, August 26, 2005, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.