Students should support referendum for North Campus health facility

New facility long overdue

UB is finally starting to take more concrete steps toward making a new health center a reality. The Spectrum supports this measure.

Students have complained about the outdated facilities at Michael Hall for years. The building lacks an elevator and is inaccessible to disabled students. And it’s a big trek for sick or injured students to make, especially the many students who don’t have a car. Roughly 6,000 students live on North Campus, and only around 1,000 live on South.

That means sick students are forced to pack onto buses with crutches and coughs, exposing dozens of other students to illnesses, not to mention the sheer difficulty of traveling to South Campus when sick or injured.

The administration plans to seek a student referendum in the fall semester to gauge student interest in a North Campus medical facility, according to UB Vice President A. Scott Weber.

Since 2005, UB has taken $3.50 from each student’s comprehensive fee and raised nearly $2 million toward a North Campus medical facility. Significantly more money will be needed to make the new health services building happen. The Spectrum would support another potential increase in student fees in order to raise the necessary funds.

The new facility will offer a “holistic approach” to student wellness and will house health and recreation services in addition to mental health counseling and wellness education, according to Weber.

We are pleased to see the administration taking this progressive approach toward wellness and recognizing the importance of mental health in conjunction with physical wellness.

Students will no longer have to commute to South Campus when they’re sneezing or vomiting or confined to crutches or a cast. And we encourage the university to ensure the new facility is accessible for disabled students, unlike the outdated and inaccessible Michael Hall.

While we wish a more concrete plan for this vital project was set into motion much sooner — especially considering the university has been using student tuition dollars to raise money for a project that was not confirmed for over ten years — we are happy the administration is taking student concerns seriously and taking the necessary steps to finalize the project.

Most of us will have graduated by the time ground is broken for the new facility, but we know our student fee money will be going toward a positive investment at our alma mater. We are excited to see our university growing and expanding with projects like the new downtown medical campus, and a North Campus health facility is an important step to that end.

Students care about where their money goes, and with ever rising tuition costs, the possibility of yet another fee increase may be understandably off-putting. However, a fee increase that could lead to a North Campus medical facility is a much needed investment in our university.

A new healthcare facility on North is a positive, much-needed addition to our campus, which is why we encourage students to support the potential project.

It would be investment in the health and wellbeing of future students — something everyone can get behind.