Plans for a new health services center to be located on the River Campus were recently overhauled as a result of space concerns at the UR Medical Center. The current plan includes a new building. The new building is expected to be built by the summer of 2007.

“Because Strong Memorial Hospital needs more space for in-patients, UHS was recently asked to relocate the UHS Medical Center Office,” Associate Director for Administration of UHS Ann McMican said. “UHS expects to move the Medical Center office to a smaller space within the Medical Center during or after summer of 2007.”

The new building will not only serve as a relocation site for UHS Medical Center but as a place to finally house all the UHS branches.

“The new River Campus building will allow us to consolidate the two University Counseling Center offices, the UHS River Campus Office and the Health Promotion Office,” Director of UHS Ralph Manchester said.

Currently, those offices are spread across multiple residence halls, the Towne House and URMC.

“We will also be able to have our physical therapist see patients in the new building instead of having her move back and forth between the Goergen Center and Fauver Stadium,” Manchester said.

With the consolidation of facilities into one building, there are many potential benefits for students.

“With more space on the River Campus, the number of River Campus students who need to go to the Medical Center to be seen should be much smaller,” Manchester said.

“There will also be the possibility of this building having a blood draw lab, adding to the convenience for students,” UR Student Health Advisory Committee Chairperson and sophomore Stefanie Trop said.

The new building will be located between the Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls and the Library Lot.

Architectural designs are still under development, but current plans call for the building to be a three-story facility with roughly 18,000 square feet of available floor space.

Groundbreaking could be as early as this summer, with the opening set for the summer of 2007 at the earliest.

“The building is being designed in accordance with nationally recognized sustainable design principles,” University Architect Paul Tankel said.

“UHS is doing its best to have a ‘green’ building – healthy in all respects,” McMican said. Any trees lost due to the project will be replaced and the rock that student groups frequently paint will be relocated to accommodate the construction.

Prior to this January’s discussion of the space crunch at URMC, plans were already being considered for a health services building on campus. Those plans were temporarily suspended while arrangements were made for the UHS facility at URMC.

The original plans for the River Campus building have been expanded to include the relocation of some space from URMC. This project will be funded by a combination of UHS funds, savings from improved operations by consolidating resources and a modest loan, according to McMican.

Hopes run high that consolidation of the UHS facilities on the River Campus will lead to better service for students. “It’s really hard to take the bus to the Medical Center and wander around the huge hospital, following those orange signs, trying to find UHS,” freshman Rachel Shapiro said. “Hopefully this will make getting medical attention easier for everyone.”Keesing can be reached at jkeesing@campustimes.org.



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