Health Services to move to South 40
By spring semester of 2006, Student Health and Counseling Services will move from its main campus location in Umrath Hall to a larger site in Forsyth House on the South 40. The $2 million relocation will put both Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) and Health and Promotion Services into the lower level of the one-year-old residence hall.
“There’s going to be a lot of enhancements. The physical layout of the space is going to be more efficient. It was also designed with privacy being a primary focus,” said Dr. Alan Glass, director of SHCS.
Glass explained that the larger location will allow the school’s healthcare professionals more freedom in treating small wounds. Students will now be able to get stitches, as well as have minor infections drained. “We have people on our staff that are certainly very capable of performing [minor operations], but we haven’t had a space to do it in the past,” Glass added.
Forsyth House, located on the corner of Big Bend and Shepley Drive, opened for student housing in the fall of 2004. “It was built to be a resident hall and, at the last minute, we put a lower level into the building [for Student Health and Counseling Services],” said Steven Rackers, manager of capital projects.
Rackers supported the University’s decision to move the small clinic to the South 40 as it is “the largest residential concentration of undergraduates on the campus.”
“We recognize the issue related to accessibility for students who don’t live on the 40, but I think we have done our best to accommodate those needs. The University shuttle routes have been extended out to the new area where Health Services is going to be. We have 16 spaces of parking allotted for people who need to drive to the Health Service,” said Glass. “Quite honestly, when you walk from the present Health Service to the new Health Service, under the underpass, it’s about a five minute walk, so it’s really not too far.”
Stephanie Beamer, a senior who lives in the Central West End, thought that the new location would be inconvenient for students who live off-campus. She agreed that the designated parking would “help matters, but it still doesn’t seem practical,” she said.
Sophomore Eric Gradel, who lives on the Northside, in House 9, disagrees. “I’m not bothered. I think it will benefit students because then health services will be more accessible to students on the Forty,” he said.
The new clinic, at 8,463 square feet, will be over 1,600 square feet larger than the space SCHS has occupied in Umrath Hall for the past 30 years. The new office will include an office for Health Promotion Services (HPS), currently located in the Woman’s Building. HPS, which provides advice and materials about safe sex, drug additions, and fitness, among other services, aims to help teach students how to stay healthy.
“When you look at the big picture of college health, it isn’t just coming in when you’re sick or when something’s wrong. It’s trying to teach yourself ways to keep that from happening,” said Glass.
On the physician’s side, SHCS will continue to provide the basic services. Glass noted that they typically treat illnesses ranging from sore throats and ear aches to bronchitis and urinary tract infections.
Over 95 percent of the cases SHCS receives are treated on campus, although sometimes health practitioners “see complex medical conditions that require the collaboration with our colleagues at the medical school,” Glass said. For non-emergency situations, not able to be treated on the Hilltop Campus, students need to acquire a referral from health services in order for it to be fully covered by Aetna, the mandatory student insurance plan.
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