By Fall of 2021, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) plans to launch a new dental hygiene degree program in their new three-story building at 101 North Broad St. in Trenton. The new location, which is now called the MCCC Health and Wellness Center, has been fully renovated and stocked with state-of-the-art medical profession equipment, not only for MCCC students to study different medical fields, but to benefit the community of the downtown area of Trenton.
“The first floor is a partnership with KinderSmile, they are our separate tenant,” said President Dr. Jianping Wang of MCCC. “But that’s not it, we partner with them doing a lot of other things.”
KinderSmile Foundation is an organization providing free oral healthcare and education to underprivileged communities in need of services. As part of their partnership with MCCC, KinderSmile recently opened a new location on the ground floor of 101 North Broad St. in October of this year. There, KinderSmile will not only be providing the community with much-needed dental services, but will be offering education to families on how to further prevent oral disease.
“We hope we don’t only provide the services to the people who can afford it, but also educate them how to take care of their teeth after they get the service from us,” said Dr. Wang. “We want to have much broader community impact than the people who just got the teeth cleaned. We want them to go back to their families and educate everybody else.”
As partners, KinderSmile and MCCC are able to benefit off eachother’s resources. KinderSmile, according to Dr. Wang, does not offer dental assistance until the afternoon throughout the week. This means MCCC’s new dental hygiene student will have access to the dental equipment during the day and will have the opportunity to take classes in that area.
“They want to make a full use of the equipment they have and don’t want to spend money to buy the equipment that can only be used for classroom instructional purposes, but not to serving the residents,” said Dr. Wang. “So this is a win win partnership.”
On the second floor of the MCCC Health and Wellness Center is common classroom areas. This level of the building will serve as a general classroom space where students studying medical professions can learn their general education courses in the same facility. Like both the James Kerney campus and the West Windsor campus of MCCC, this building is equipped with standard computer technology. Internet access was a priority, especially as our community currently works through the pandemic.
“With the current environment, you can learn remotely,” said Dr. Wang. “You don’t have to be at the James Kearney campus at at West Windsor. You can learn remotely or you can learn fully online, whichever you prefer.”
On the third floor, the MCCC Health and Wellness Center has what Dr. Wang likes to call a “life-size lab for home-care programs.” Resembling a common house or a care facility, the third floor of this new building is dedicated to recreating the environment students entering the home care or nurse aiding professions will have to know.
There is a fully-functioning kitchen, bathroom equipped with a tub and a full bed on the third floor of the building. MCCC wanted to create a space that mimics students further career fields.
Dr. Wang said, “We want to give our students the real life experienced of how to take care of an elderly person in the house (and) to provide the care so it’s not like, you imagined that, you actually practiced that.”
Making use of every space within the building, MCCC has also turned the basement into an area for exercise science majors to study. The basement has a stock of exercise equipment for current and future students to use for further education.
Within the basement is also an area being created for vending machines. This will act as a small rest area, not only for the college student, but for college professors and KinderSmile employees to rest.
After spending a lot of time and effort on renovating the interior of 101 North Broad St., MCCC is eager to get students, faculty and community members inside.
“Mercer County Community College is playing a very active role in revitalizing downtown Trenton,” said Dr. Wang. “I hope people in the capital city see us as a resource and know that we are here for you.”