February 03, 2006

SIUC opens new Student Health Center

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale today (Feb. 3) ushered in a new era of serving the needs of students with the grand opening of the Student Health Center.

Connected to the Student Recreation Center on the east side of campus, the 57,000-square-foot health center offers students a continuum of care under one roof. Services include the medical clinic, pharmacy, wellness resources, mental health clinic, sports medicine and physical therapy. Community partners Southern Illinois Dermatology and the Marion Eye Center also provide services in the new health center.

Prior to the move over winter break, Student Health Programs operated out of two buildings on Greek Row on the far west side of campus for 40 years. In 2002, various student organizations endorsed proposed higher fees needed to pay for a new health center. The SIU Board of Trustees approved the project later in 2002, and construction began in June 2004. Student health fees will pay off the bulk of the $9.6 million in bonds issued for the facility.

"We have always provided our students with excellent services to meet their physical, emotional and psychological needs," Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said. "Now, students and their families know we are providing that same care in state-of-the-art facilities. Beautiful and functional facilities such as this move the University forward as it continues to create the University of the future today."

Cheryl A. Presley, director of Student Health Programs, paid tribute to students and many workers for bringing the project to fruition.

"This building is really a miracle," she said. "It took total commitment on the parts of hundreds of people, and the students, to make this project happen. The building is more than just bricks and mortar and glass. It's a center where we can serve the students well and far into the future, both by training them to be doctors, health care professionals, physical therapists and clinical psychologists, and by serving the continuum of health care needs they present, all under one roof."

Students' reaction to the new facility is positive, she said.

"It enables us to have more integrated service delivery, see people more efficiently and meet a broader spectrum of the health needs," Presley added.

The new health center features sustainable architecture, and Presley said it is environmentally sound and people-friendly. The cork floors are made of 100 percent recycled products, and Presley said cork is better for people who spend most of their working days on their feet.

There are 134 full-time employees in Student Health, along with 40 student workers and graduate students.

Meeting or exceeding the expectations of students is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.

(Caption: Grand opening – Southern Illinois University Carbondale, local legislators and community dignitaries today (Feb. 3) celebrated the grand opening of the new 57,000-square-foot Student Health Center. Connected to the Student Recreation Center, the new facility offers students a continuum of care under one roof, replacing multiple cramped facilities on the west side of campus that had housed the health programs for 40 years.)