As the construction of the new Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center continues, Tyler Junior College officials are planning for the programs that will occupy the center.

The department chairwomen for the occupational therapy assistant and physical therapist assistant programs, both of which will be new to TJC, spoke to the board of trustees on Thursday about the status of their respective programs.

Elizabeth Olivier, department chairwoman and professor with the occupational therapy assistant program, said the college is accepting applications through May 30 for the program. It is a competitive admissions program.

The college will enroll its first class of 20 students for the program for August 2014. It’s a five-semester program after the prerequisites are complete.

Students have to complete three clinical experiences during the first four semesters and a 16-week full-time clinical experience in their fifth semester, according to information provided by the college.

Christine Melius, department chairwoman and professor of the physical therapist assistant program, said she is in the process of developing the program.

The college is planning to hire the academic coordinator of clinical education in September.

The college won’t begin enrolling its first class of 20 students until fall 2015. It also is a competitive admissions program.

The program requires five semesters after the prerequisites and includes three clinical rotations, according to TJC.

Ms. Olivier and Ms. Melius said after their time at TJC there will be opportunities for students to move into bridge programs where they can earn higher degrees to become physical therapists or occupational therapists.

In other business, the board:

n Approved a rental agreement to bring the Sonic Sensation interactive museum exhibition to TJC’s Center for Earth and Space Science Education. The exhibit will introduce visitors to the science of sound and hearing, according to information provided by TJC. The Sciencenter in Ithaca, N.Y., developed and owns the exhibit.

TJC plans to use the exhibit starting in fall 2015. It costs about $58,500 to rent it.

n Approved letters of understanding between the college and several Southeast Texas nursing homes.

The college will provide shelter for the residents in the event of an emergency evacuation.

n Heard a report about the college’s tax abatement agreements from Tom Mullins, president and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council. Mullins said four of the five projects have performed as required under the agreements.

Scotts Hyponex, which has a production and bagging operation in Tyler for potting soils and mulch, has not met its employment goal of 25 people so the tax abatement oversight committees recommended a 64 percent abatement of 2014 taxes. The committee recommended the other four projects, which are Centene, Hood Packaging, Reef Services and Tazza Pronto, receive 100 percent abatement of 2014 taxes.


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