The University of Rhode Island is currently designing and developing a new integrated health, wellness and counseling center in hopes of serving the University of Rhode Island’s student body with physical and mental health services and education.

Vice President of Student Affairs Kathy Collins and Student Health and Wellness Director Ellen Reynolds are working together, alongside many other administrators, to find the best approach and means of deliverance of this new health and wellness center. The building is expected to cost $58.7 million to complete. 

“When the opportunity came up to look at building a new [health] building, it was clear that we wanted to build [one] that was integrated, that our students could access one door and address all of their wellness needs under that one roof,” Reynolds said. “So what we will do is bring the medical team and the counseling staff together [as] professionals so they’ll be treating the whole student [community] working on the well being of those students.”

Collins emphasized the importance of this resource for students. 

“We want to see you are healthy, active engaged learners, that we support you during your time here and what your needs may be,” Collins said. “So having all of these groups together will allow our teams to collaborate and enhance communication.”

Looking towards the future, Reynold’s said that she and Collins are unable to give the exact time frame of when the center will be completed. However, the center is tentatively set to open sometime around the fall of 2022. 

 “We don’t know yet how many floors it’s going to be, who’s going to actually be inside the building, except we’re clear that it’s going to be counseling and health,” Reynolds said. “But we’re looking at all those other partners that are part of student success that revolve around wellness and well being and seeing who can be in that building with us to meet the student’s needs.”

The building will stand across from the Potter Building, which is where Health Services is currently located. It will sit above the parking lot so that no parking will disappear for students.  

“So not only will we be meeting the needs of the residential students, but now we’ll be closer to upper campus where maybe some more commuter students would choose to be able to come and use the services,” Collins said. 

Reynolds and Collins also want to focus this new building on formally educating students on topics that will benefit them even after they graduate. 

“We also hope that we can build some space where we can do some formal education so we can bring in some speakers on different topics that are important to our community, that speak to diversity, inclusiveness and well being so that we can help both our practitioners who are there working and our students [can] learn from the very best,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds and Collins also said that they are hoping to encompass a larger array of services for students, such as a place to relax before or after an appointment, a cafe with healthy dining options or a place where students can go for a calm space to hang out.

“We’re also looking at adding some new services that we know right now our students engage in off campus that we don’t have an opportunity in a space for here,” Collins said. “And so that might be that, you know, once a week or once a month, we have an acupuncturist who [would] come in, or maybe a massage [therapist], you could book a massage, and whether that’s a head and neck massage, or a full body massage, none of that has been worked out yet, but we’re trying to build some of this space that allows us to use it in multiple ways.”