By Shayna Han
Union will soon have a brand-new Wellness Center to replace the Health Counseling Centers located in Silliman Hall.
The Wellness Center is still in the later stages of planning and is waiting for presentation and approval by the Board of Trustees, but construction is expected to start next fall. As President Ainlay mentioned during his Convocation speech a groundbreaking ceremony will be held during Homecoming Weekend this fall.
The Wellness Center will be constructed next to the Alumni Gym. On the ground floor will be Health Services’ main space, along with a reception area, staff and office space, and examination areas.
The second floor will house the Counseling Center, with its own waiting area, private counseling rooms, office space, and a relaxation room. The Center is being designed by Sacco and McKinney, the same firm that designed the Henle Dance Pavillion, Lippman Hall, and Lamont House.
Director of Facilities and Planning Loren Rucinski says that plans for the Wellness Center are a well-planned “concept,” created with ideas and input from the Facilities and Planning office and the Health and Counseling Centers.
“We’ve been doing the programming, which is sitting down with both people in the Counseling Center and […] Health Services,” said Rucinski. “[They’ve] helped place these things in an area that would be easy for them to use the space.”
Barbara Michaelis, Administrative Assistant in the Health Center, talked about how both the Health and Counseling Centers needed more space. Originally, the Wellness Center was to be primarily for the Counseling Center. But when Union “analyzed and realized” that the Health Center was experiencing similar problems as the Counseling Center, most notably space shortages, the Wellness Center became the Health Center’s future home, too.
Michaelis also talked about the increasing use of the medical services on campus. In the 2010-2011 school year, the Health Center treated 2,650 people; last year, 3,200 were treated. The Counseling Center saw about 40 percent of the Union student body in the 2010-2011 school year and administered to approximately 2,100 students. Per term, they gain about 100 new students. To better “accommodate students’ needs,” the Wellness Center will be a welcome addition to both the Health and Counseling Center staff.
When asked about what the new Wellness Center would add to Union, Rucinski replied, “One of the real pluses is that it adds a new dimension to the fitness vs. wellness. […] Perhaps some connection, some different programs could happen that don’t happen now.”
“[It’s] another exciting project for the College,” Rucinski concluded. “It’s a project that we hope to have moving along.”