SHU Constructs New Wellness Center

A rendering of the new Wellness Center

News Story: June 13, 2013

To continue to meet the core mission of serving students and fostering health for the whole person, Sacred Heart University is constructing a new Wellness Center.

The two-story, colonial-style, 5,800-square-foot building, which will be situated on Park Avenue across from the main campus, will serve as a place for acute health and medical needs and will also offer students counseling and therapeutic services.

The first floor of the new Wellness Center will house a reception and waiting area, medical record storage room, several examination rooms, a physician’s office and both a supervisor’s office and nurse’s office. The second floor will consist of a health resource area, wellness center and several counseling suites. The new building is slated to be completed by July 2013.

Sacred Heart’s current Wellness Center at the Park Avenue House offers students health care and confidential counseling and has long been a valuable resource to the student body. Additionally, peer educators are also available to aid students in making responsible choices about alcohol, relationships and coping with loss by offering support and resources.

“As we grow, the current building was no longer suiting the needs of the students. The new Wellness Center will be able to accommodate more students more efficiently,” said Larry Wielk, dean of Students. “We live in a time where students are more aware of not only their medical needs, but are also more willing to address other needs and seek help through counselors.”

The new and larger Wellness Center will architecturally blend into the neighborhood and will be able to serve the student body on diverse levels and perpetuate wellness and overall health for the entire community.

“We are here to assist and challenge students to achieve their academic and career goals, but we are also here to support and educate the whole person,” said David L. Coppola, vice president of Strategic Planning and Administration. “This helps fulfill that mission. We are very grateful to the neighbors for their support, and we think the services provided in this new building underscore our role as responsible contributors to the community.”

The new Center will hold more examining rooms for students who seek health care. In 2008, Sacred Heart University and St. Vincent’s Medical Center partnered to give students access to physicians on campus. The Wellness Center will also be equipped with a laboratory and wellness room where students can wait following vaccinations and where they are monitored if there are adverse reactions.

“Currently, students have to wait in the examination rooms after they receive a vaccination and that holds up medical staff from seeing others,” said Wielk. “We believe this is something that is certainly long overdue in terms of having better, more appropriate space and enough space to serve our students. It will significantly improve the quality of life on campus.”

During the peak flu season, the Wellness Center is often inundated with students, and with the space limitations of the current building, the student patient load can’t be accommodated. “This will give students more privacy and it will be more efficient in terms of serving the students,” said Wielk.

Current staff members of the health service teams who work part time will be given the opportunity to work more hours and to serve more students in the new and larger space, Wielk said.