A proposal by the university to develop a lease agreement for the former Mid-State Technical College building at 933 Michigan Ave. was approved by the Stevens Point City Council on Nov. 17.
A need to find space for the growing health care program prompted the proposal which, if approved by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and the State Building Commission, will allow the city-owned building to be leased for 10 years at $100,000 annually. At the end of the lease, the university will have the option to buy the property for $1.39 million after July 1, 2017.
The building will be named Center for Healthy Communities and would serve as a classroom facility and community center where health science students would be allowed experience-based learning by working with people from the community.
“There is a need for health care workers in almost all areas,” said Marty Loy, the Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Professional Studies.
“Our faculty is spread and we are at capacity,” Loy said. “Students have really just demanded those programs.”
Currently, health science classes are held in the science and CPS buildings. A new space will open up room for other classes, and according to Loy, make the UWSP nursing program a possibility.
The idea for a community health center with a focus on prevention came from the university’s strategic planning sessions. The mission to help communities thrive and support the region could be accomplished partially by improving health science programs.
Administrators realized to make a community center, they would need to maximize its accessibility to the public.
“They’re afraid to come on campus,” Loy said.
Loy said the proposed building’s location would provide easy access to public while remaining close to campus.
“If anything, it extends the campus,” Loy said. “It builds opportunities.”
According to Loy, the services at Delzell Hall will remain unchanged and existing collaborations with health care students may expand.
The building will need upgrades and remodeling before tentatively opening in 2016. New classrooms will require sophisticated lab and medical equipment that could be installed during the renovation process as early as spring 2015, according to a university press release.
Loy said the building is a good fit because it was built for an educational setting and major renovations throughout are not necessary.