Health services may get new building

Kandace Sebastian

They’ve dealt with financial problems and cramped spaces over the past three years. Now health services is on the verge of getting a new building.

A planning committee is scheduled to meet this morning with architects to discuss the cost, design and size of a new building for health services.

President Gary Ransdell said a new facility is feasible because of the efforts of health services director Libby Greaney and Gene Tice, vice president for Student Affairs and campus services.

He said the building won’t likely be done in the near future.

“Dr. Tice and Greaney are gradually working toward a health center, but we are a ways from having something tangible,” Ransdell said.

Ed West, construction manager, said the project is still in its study phase. But if revenue comes through for construction, building could start as early as next fall, he said.

Site selection will be discussed at today’s meeting, West said. One possible spot will be on the walkway between the Preston Center and Tate Page Hall.

Tice said they won’t know how much the building will cost until after the architects draft their plans.

Funding is one problem facing university officials.

The plan to construct a new health services facility began under Collegiate Health Care, which had a management agreement with the university until it went bankrupt in 2000.

Those plans died with the company. Now the complete financial responsibility is on Western.

Tice said what is left of a $250,000 performance bond settlement with Collegiate will be put toward the construction cost. But that’s not something Western is counting on to help satisfy the construction costs, he said.

Tice said payment for the facility will come from revenue generated through health services.

Currently, the services are working toward being financially capable of paying for the new facility, but may have to apply for a loan through the state legislature.

Western has run health services since Collegiate’s fall.

“The program is growing and the satisfaction level of the health services has improved immensely since we have taken it out of Collegiate and under the operation of Greaney,” Tice said.

Greaney and her staff are making do with the space they have.

Greaney said they have “maximized the capability” of their current facility in Academic Complex.

But they need more.

Greaney said health services has a physical therapist and a new physician, and hopes to add a chiropractor.

Reach Kandace Sebastian at [email protected]