Originally posted on the-standard.org on Sept. 27, 2016. Photo by Bailey Vassalli.
On Oct. 3, the Taylor Health and Wellness Center will be making a temporary move to the first floor of the Monroe Apartments while construction works to build the new health center within a 15-month time frame.
Last October, SGA proposed a $12.5 million project to renovate, update and build a new health center on campus. The referendum passed with 86 percent of votes in favor and starting next month, construction will officially take place.
Director of the Taylor Health and Wellness Center Dr. Dave Muegge said that since they were planning for such a large project, officials didn’t think construction would start until sometime next year.
“Architects started planning in December and originally they thought it would take a little over a year to get all the plans drawn,” Muegge said, “but the president and students wanted it to go a little faster. And it was really pretty amazing, that what would have normally taken a little over a year, he did in nine months.”
The wellness center will be catty-corner from where it is now, just across Bear Blvd. at the Monroe Apartments. Muegge said the residence hall would be perfect because of its location and that it won’t take up any more parking. For those that need it, Lot 29 will be of use. The Monroe parking lot is restricted to those who live there.
Director of Residence Life, Housing, and Dining Services Gary Stewart said residents living at Monroe have already been notified of the changes. For those that lived on the first floor last year, they were put as first priority as far as which floor they wanted to live on.
One of these residents, sophomore elementary education major Lydia Dorenbusch, wasn’t as worried about the construction as she was of the traffic and germs coming into the building.
“I liked that the apartments were pretty private, so now with Taylor Health moving in, it will be pretty busy and crowded now in our lobby,” Dorenbusch said. “Knowing that many people that were sick were going to be constantly coming in was not the greatest thing.”
However, according to Stewart, this shouldn’t even be a problem at all.
“(Clients) are going to have a separate outside entrance and the way the building is constructed, nothing from the first floor is going to go upstairs,” Stewart said.
Stewart also said that Taylor moving into the first floor will not disrupt the need for housing on-campus.
“We don’t put first-year students in apartment-style situations, so no first-year students who are required to live on-campus can live there anyway,” Stewart said.
Even though the move doesn’t take away from housing problems, it does take away from the revenue that would have been generated if students were living there. Because of this, Stewart said part of the budget for the move will be going towards paying rent.
“For one academic year, they will be paying approximately $111,000, and then we will see how long they are in there for next academic year of 2017-2018,” Stewart said.
It is expected that the transition alone will cost $500,000; part of this cost is the rent paid to Monroe and the installation of a pharmacy and radiology center, along with other equipment.
However, Muegge said there are some downsides to choosing Monroe as Taylor’s temporary home.
“The disadvantage of staying here is that it’s a lot of work moving over and moving back,” Muegge said. “Our workers and patients are going to have to be in a smaller space for 15 months, and there is some cost to it because you have to fix up some things to pass pharmacy inspections and state radiology inspections.”
Moving from a 16,000-square-foot space to a 9,000-square-foot space, some adjustments will have to be made. Instead of having an office and two exam rooms, doctors and nurses will now share that space; at times, their office will double as an exam room. All activities and events the health center currently hosts will be held at different locations, such as the PSU and the Foster Recreation Center.
Nursing Coordinator Connie Pyle said that the good spirits are high among the nurses.
“I did a survey about two weeks ago, and I think the nurses are pretty supportive and feel like they can do anything and be any place for a short amount of time,” Pyle said.
However, this small space will not weaken the amount of services Taylor currently offers. In fact, some of the new features of the new health center are already being implemented into the current center and will be carried over to Monroe.
“All the services we currently have are going into Monroe, along with the free travel clinic and the athletic training clinic,” Muegge said.
Besides services, the center at Monroe will have added features to protect patient-privacy. Pyle said that she and the other nurses have prepared themselves for the close corridors and how to maintain proper care.
“They are also going to have protective screens on their computers so that whoever is sitting behind them cannot tell what is on their computers,” Pyle said.
The new health center is expected to open January 2018.