The new facility and simulation hospital will enable STC to produce 450 additional nurses a year, more than double the current amount, administrators say

Speaking to a packed house at the opening of South Texas College’s newest medical learning facility, alumnus Angel Arjona recalls his determination to enter the medical field beginning as a child growing up in La Joya.

As a high school student in 2007, Arjona said he began taking dual enrollment courses that enabled him to transfer into the nursing program at South Texas College.

A first-generation graduate, Arjona said he obtained his Associate degree in Nursing in 2012 and shortly afterward began working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at a local hospital. He then acquired his bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech and was accepted into the master’s program at Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth. He is currently a Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance.

“I enjoy every day I work as an anesthetist, and I greatly appreciate the foundation that STC has given me to accomplish my goals,” Arjona said. “In the operating room, I see various healthcare professionals working as one to meet one goal, which is to provide the best healthcare services to restore patients’ health.

“Every one of these mentioned healthcare professionals produced by STC can use the college as a stepping stone to get there,” Arjona said. “Supplying the local needs for nursing and allied health careers requires a teaching platform with advanced simulation rooms and state-of-the-art education technology. Buildings like this new nursing and allied health campus will create an appropriate environment to produce high-quality healthcare professionals that will take care of our families.”

The STC Dr. Ramiro R. Casso Nursing and Allied Health Campus celebrated its newest expansion with a ribbon cutting ceremony May 8.

Speakers at the ceremony included Chair of the STC Board of Trustees Dr. Alejo Salinas, STC Facilities Committee Chair Gary Gurwitz and Chair of Finance Paul Rodriguez. Also attending with prepared remarks was City of McAllen Commissioner District 6, Veronica Whitacre, STC Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, Dr. Jayson Valerio, and former NAH Dean Melba Trevino.

The new facility will enable STC to produce 450 additional nurses a year, more than double the current amount, according to administrators at STC.

“This means 450 registered and licensed vocational nurses will be serving all of us in the community,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “Because our students are from the Valley, they want to stay in the Valley. With this fabulous facility, we are going to provide first class state-of-the-art training for them, and we know they are going to stay here.”

The $23 million expansion of the Nursing and Allied Health campus is part of the 2013 bond election that is providing new spaces and opportunities for students to attain degrees and certificates in rewarding careers.

To date, NAH has graduated more than 3,000 students since 1998 into nursing vocations, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, and all of the smaller vocations that serve the highest need in our hospitals.

The new building is a four-story, 90,000 square foot complex that includes a new library and a state-of-the-art simulation hospital. The hospital will provide a real-world, hands-on experience for students in the fields of nursing, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacy, radiology, diagnostic sonography, and respiratory therapy among other programs.

South Texas College Nursing and Allied Health Division Dean, Dr. Jayson Valerio stated that the new facility is another testament to how the college is committed to improving the health and quality of life through education and innovation for the growing diverse community.

“This new building is a testament that South Texas College is meeting the healthcare needs of our growing and diverse community,” Dr. Valerio said. “Through our simulation pedagogy, we as healthcare educators believe that we are able to create a clinical learning environment…and we are able to educate our students with extensive knowledge, technical skills, and develop their clinical judgment so they can be safe, competent, caring, compassionate and culturally sensitive healthcare professionals.”

Students interested in classes located at the Nursing and Allied Health Campus and other locations can view a complete listing of upcoming classes available at