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New Student Health and Wellness Center gears up for January opening

<p>The new center will consist of three stories with a one-story annex.</p>

The new center will consist of three stories with a one-story annex.

Feeling sick but don't want to make the trek all the way to Student Health? Next semester, it won't be nearly as difficult. 

The new Student Health and Wellness Center—which is scheduled to open Jan. 9—will combine all health resources on campus into a 72,000 square-foot space, consisting of three stories with a one-story annex, said Sue Wasiolek, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. The first floor will be home to the Student Wellness Center, DukeReach, nutrition services and a pharmacy, and the second floor will house Student Health. In addition, the third floor will be the office for the Counseling and Psychological Services and a physical therapy suite. The center also will have a meditation garden for student use.

Wasiolek noted that each floor will have an atrium for students to hang out and relax.

“What I’m most excited about in the building is when you walk in at any level, you will not encounter a medical or clinical environment,” she said. “[The atrium is] going to be space that we hope will be extremely inviting, very comfortable and will also be such that students feel it is space they want to return to.”

The structure of the building represents wellness itself through its style and decor, explained Thomas Szigethy, associate dean and director of the Student Wellness Center.

“There’s a lot of natural elements that are being brought into the building, stone and woodwork, so that the building becomes an example of environmental wellness for students,” he said.

Although the center seems very large, Wasiolek noted that the original design was actually bigger than the current building. 

Danielle Oakley, director of CAPS, said that the building has only enough space for the center’s occupants. CAPS, which is currently located in three different sections of Page building, will now be together in one location, allowing for “better collaboration” between their offices and with other departments, she added.

For the first time in Duke history, all student health and wellness services will be located under the same roof, allowing the agencies to practice a “comprehensive, integrative and wholistic” approach to student well-being, Wasiolek said.

Szigethy noted that it is advantageous to have the Student Wellness Center, DukeReach, Student Health and CAPS within the same building because it will be easy to guide students back and forth between the resources without the inconvenience of traveling across campus. 

Oakley also highlighted the location and easy accessibility as benefits of the new building. Although the current CAPS offices are only accessible by stairs, the new center will have an elevator so that all students will be able to visit the facilities. 

The new center is meant to encourage students to make health and wellness a lifestyle choice, Szigethy explained.

“The building was built for students. It was built so that students could clearly see that the University was committed to their health and wellness,” Wasiolek said. “Our hope is that the students themselves would embrace the importance of their own health and wellness.”

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