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New building considered for SHS

After years of waiting, Student Health Services may finally get its new building

By Kathleen McWilliams
On October 6, 2013

  • An employee is shown standing at the entrance to Student Health Services located in the UConn Infirmary. Student Health Services was slated to move into a new building seven years ago as part of UConn 2000, but the plan was never completed. FILE PHOTO/The Daily Campus

Student Health Services is being seriously considered for a new building.
Seven years ago SHS was billed for a new location as part of the UConn 2000 initiative, but because it did not include funding it was not made a top priority.
Discussions have now been reopened and plans are being made for the new location. While the exact location of the new building has not yet been determined, it is possible that it will be located near X Lot in order to keep its proximity to other health and wellness services.
With the arrival of a branch of the UConn Health Center arriving in Storrs Center this winter, the planning for the new building will include communication with the Health Center to ensure that space is used efficiently.
"It is important that we work together closely with the administration of the UConn Health Center in order to assure that our facility is 'right sized' and provides the appropriate types and levels of services," said Student Health Services Director Michael Kurland. " We are closely collaborating to identify operational synergies and avoid duplication of services. This will assure that the general community and student body are best served with cost effective care."
The new building will include Counseling and Mental Health Services, which previously had its own location, and will feature an expanded pharmacy with a larger retail area for over the counter medication. Kurland also hopes that an increase in parking availability will also be a part of the plan, as students have often complained about inadequate parking services at the current location.
While the new building will not necessarily be any larger than the current facility, it will hopefully improve upon several key issues.
"Our current facility is outmoded and functionally inefficient. The intelligent design of a new facility using best practices should enable us to optimally and efficiently use space." Kurland said.
This step towards efficiency and the desire to make the facility more functional is consistent with UConn's LEAD initiative, which is a focus on sustainable and green development.
"It will also allow us to save energy as our current facility has archaic building systems which waste energy. We will work closely with architects in planning the facility so that it most effectively and efficiently meets the needs of students," said Kurland.
To research models of sustainability and success in efficient health care centers, the planning team will be traveling around the country to get a feel for what makes some of the nation's top facilities as successful and efficient as they are.
The new facility will also address the needs of a growing student population.
"We are conscious of the new NextGen/STEM initiative and want to make sure that we design an appropriately sized facility that will be able to handle an increased student population," said Kurland.

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