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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

New health center to offer more exam rooms, greater privacy

The Falcon Health Center will be opening up in August, but contrary to its name, it won’t be run by falcons.

The new health center, which will be located on Wooster Street across from Hanna Hall, will be owned and operated by Wood County Hospital.

In addition to increased space, more and larger exam rooms and greater privacy, the health center will offer more care providers for students, said Deb Busdeker, director of the Student Health Service and a Wood County Hospital employee.

Though the necessity and desire to build a new health center existed before University President Mary Ellen Mazey arrived in July of 2011, Mazey recognized the need when she came to the University, she said.

“We had realized our health center was no longer meeting standards as far as size of exam rooms,” said Jill Carr, senior associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of Students.

When Mazey first arrived, she visited the dean of each college. During her first visit with Lisa Petrosino, the former dean of the College of Health and Human Services, she saw the necessity for more space, Mazey said.

“It’s the fastest growing academic program in the University,” Mazey said. “Space is an issue.”

This problem has existed since the late 1990s, said Richard Sipp, executive director of the health center and associate vice president for Student Affairs.

“The logical space for [Health and Human Services] is in the health center building,” Sipp said. “The genesis of this was really an issue of how do we find space for the health center and deal with the Health and Human Services issue— where does the money come from to build a student health service?”

A potential new home for the health center was discussed, but a financial analysis was never done, Sipp said.

The College of Health and Human Services is located in the current Student Health Center building on Ridge Street, leading Mazey to ask why the health center was in the same building if the college was growing so fast.

Due to financial constraints of building a new center, Mazey knew from her time at Auburn University that outsourcing it would be possible.

“I was there for two years and I never heard any complaint about it,” Mazey said of Auburn’s health center.

There are two main reasons the University decided to seek another company to run the health center, Mazey said.

“The first reason is we needed space for Health and Human Services,” Mazey said. “The second reason was, could we find a way to provide better or equal service?”

The decision would also save enough money to renovate the student recreation center, Mazey said.

“It seemed to me that it was a win-win-win,” Mazey said.

Student fees will not be raised as a result of outsourcing the construction of the new health center, Sipp said.

Several University administrators and Wood County Hospital employees visited Auburn to learn how the college in eastern Alabama conducted their health center’s outsourcing.

“It gave us the opportunity to see a situation where an outsourcing entity was running the health center and it worked,” Carr said. “I was very impressed by what I saw, it is very seamless for the students.”

Sipp said the health center had been integrated into campus well enough that it seemed like it wasn’t privately operated.

“I think that’s the hope— for students it’ll be an extension of the University,” he said. “Wood County is working very hard to make sure the building has the same look and feel of the University.”

Carr said she wants the transition to the new University health center to be seamless as well.

“The biggest thing is the name of it will be the Falcon Health Center, [it will be] connected to campus,” she said. “We know that there will be indications of our [school’s] colors.”

During the building and design process, the hospital is working on it’s campus culture to make the building more “BGSUish,” Busdeker said.

The building will also look like it belongs to campus on the outside, as the architects hired to do the health center have worked on the past four or five campus construction projects, Busdeker said.

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