UB looking for student input on North Campus health and recreation center

Wellness Center task force to send out student survey next week

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UB’s Wellness Center task force is sending out a survey early next week and looking for students’ input on a new integrated health and recreation center on North Campus.

UB introduced the Wellness Center task force, chaired by UB’s Associate Vice President of Student Life Administration and Planning Christina Hernandez, at the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. The steering committee for the project consists of 18 faculty, students and professional staff who are coordinating the work of the project. But 54 people are on the Wellness Center task force including the financial, operation and stakeholder subcommittees. 

The task force is looking to include counseling, health promotion, health services and recreation in the center on North Campus, while figuring out how to integrate a holistic approach to health and wellness on the other two campuses. The center will supplement the current health services in Michael Hall on South Campus. 

The task force is relying heavily on student input for the programs and services they would like to see offered. Hernandez said students should expect the survey in their email inboxes early next week.

“[The task force] wants to assess how students feel about integrating these services all into one building,” Hernandez said. “On the recreation side, we want to better understand what recreation and fitness options students would want to see and price sensitivity on existing fees to support these services.”

Students have been paying $3.50 from their health fee since the 2005-06 academic year for this integrated health and recreation center. After the results from the survey, the finance consultants will develop a finance model to estimate the cost of the building per square foot, as well as the programs and services it will offer.

“We’ll ask how students feel about increasing a recreation or health fee in support of getting new programs and services in a new building,” Hernandez said. “There was an overwhelming positive response in the past that students would pay more to get these services.”

 The task force is still in the “exploratory process” and continues to compare the concept with other colleges that have similar facilities. The committee is planning workshops for students throughout the fall semester. They hope to have a feasibility report from CannonDesign and Brailsford & Dunlavey by the end of this year. Once they have the report, the task force plans to have another conversation with students at the broad-based fee consultation in the spring.

Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt, Vice President for Finance and Administration Laura Hubbard and Vice President for Student Life A. Scott Weber are all sponsors for the project. 

“I think with this health and recreation center it’s about strategically thinking about better serving our students,” Hernandez said. “It’s about offering mental health counseling, student health services and recreation holistically and have it be about the support of wellness for our students, faculty and staff.”

Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor and can be reached at brittany.gorny@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrittanyUBSpec.