Students looking to stay healthy are excited that construction on the Health and Wellness Center is scheduled for fall 2017, with a plan to open in December, 2018.
“The Board of Regents approved the project this past fall, and next it will go to the State Building Commission to be reviewed in March,” said Jen Sorenson, the administrative director of Student Health Services. “If it gets approved at that point, then we would put out a request for bids from architectural firms to develop the final plan.”
Chancellor Bernie Patterson said in a public budget forum Jan. 30 that administration does not see plans being halted due to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed cuts to the UW System.
The facility has an assigned space of 93,133 square feet and will occupy the women’s soccer field. A turf soccer field with a running track will wrap around it to the east, and the building will house a four-court gym, cardio and strength center, child care center, Student Health Services, counseling clinic, Outdoor Edventures office and group fitness rooms.
Segregated fees are already funding the facility, but no student will be charged a user fee once construction is complete.
“The segregated fee applied to students’ tuition will gradually increase each year as we move toward occupancy,” Sorenson said. “This way, the students who will be using it will be paying more than the students who probably won’t.”
Tuition was increased by $50 for the 2014-2015 academic year. Tuition will increase by $125 for the 2015-2016 academic year and eventually stabilize at $275 per academic year for the next 30 years.
“I understand that we’re receiving a segregated fee so that future students will be able to receive a free membership,” said Lauren Carlson, a senior wildlife ecology major. “But I’m not a huge fan because we won’t be the ones experiencing the new addition.”
Sorenson said money is for the $39 million price tag of new center.
“This price includes all of the medical facilities for the Health Services clinic, improvements to the outdoor space and the fitness equipment within the facility,” Sorenson said. “This space and the turf soccer field will extend the season and extend accessibility for students.”
Sorenson said having Health Services in the same building as the recreational facilities will enhance the ability to provide wellness programming for students.