Renovations to the Lauderdale Center for Student Health and Counseling were recently completed, transforming the first floor into a more accessible and modern area for students to receive medical care.
"Our goal for the project was to have the whole space be more student-friendly, and a more calm atmosphere," said Melinda DuBois, administrative director of health and counseling.
The renovations were completed this September and included structural changes to the building.
"What's changed is mostly downstairs," DuBois said. "The lobby is completely renovated; walls were moved and new carpeting was put down."
The renovation resulted in two more exam rooms, which means a shorter waiting time for patients. The nurses' area was also relocated closer to the lobby for easier access to patients.
The waiting room has undergone some of the most noticeable changes, with new glass windows separating the reception staff from patients. According to DuBois, this new feature creates more privacy.
"We can have private conversations [behind the desk] and not be worried about confidentiality," she said.
In addition to the aesthetic changes, the health center now features new electronic equipment designed to store student medical records. A kiosk in the main lobby allows students to schedule their own appointments electronically instead of over the phone.
"We've finally moved into this century," DuBois said.
"We've not only made changes to the physical environment, but we're also working with our staff to make it a good environment for the students," said Nurse Manager Deborah Penoyer.
A triage system has been established to prioritize patients based on the severity of their problems. Students are also able to speak directly with nurses over the phone, ensuring easy access to medical help.
One of the main incentives for the renovation was the presence of asbestos in tiles on the first floor of the health center.
"We had to change [the tiles] because of the asbestos, but luckily we were able to incorporate the aesthetic changes as well," Penoyer said.
According to DuBois, another key reason for the changes was student opinion.
"We've done surveys in past years, and a common issue that students keep identifying is the lack of privacy," she said. "I was thrilled to finally get the chance to respond to the comments that we've been hearing."
With all of these improvements, DuBois said, "We will be able to see more students more efficiently, and the confidentiality concerns won't exist anymore.